‘Historic moment’ | ‘We’re watching closely’ — Russia protests as Finland joins NATO
Finland has become the 31st member of the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation (NATO), the world’s biggest military alliance.
On Tuesday, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general,
described the move as historic and said the Finnish flag would be raised at the
NATO headquarters to signify full accession into the alliance.
“We will raise the Finnish flag for the first time here at
the NATO headquarters. It will be a good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic
security and for NATO as a whole,” Stoltenberg said.
He said he was hopeful that Sweden, who applied for
membership at the same time as Finland, will also be able to join in the coming
All NATO members must unanimously agree for new members to
Pekka Haavisto, Finnish prime minister, said the country’s
goal was to seek support for Ukraine, a shared neighbour with Russia, against
the Kremlin invasion
“It is a historic moment for us. For Finland, the most
important objective at the meeting will be to emphasise NATO’s support to
Ukraine as Russia continues its illegal aggression. We seek to promote
stability and security throughout the Euro-Atlantic region,” Havisto said.
Finland and Sweden sought protection under NATO’s security
umbrella after Russia invaded Ukraine a little over a year ago.
Finland’s membership means that in the event the country is
invaded or attacked, all NATO members, including the US, would come to its aid.
Alexander Grushko, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said
Moscow would bolster its defences and take counter-measures to ensure its
security, tactically and strategically.
“We will strengthen
our military potential in the west and in the northwest. In case of deployment
of forces of other NATO members on the territory of Finland, we will take
addition steps to ensure Russia’s military security,” Grushko said.
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, described NATO’s
expansion as a “violation of our security and our national interests” and
warned that Russia would be “watching closely” what happens in Finland.
One of President Vladimir Putin’s grievances before Russia’s
full-scale invasion of Ukraine was NATO’s growing spread in Europe.
The NATO secretary-general assured that Sweden would become
the next member to join.
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