Finland officially became the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) this Tuesday (4). In a ceremony held at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, handed over a document on joining the group, which means the conclusion of the procedure.
Finland’s entry into the US-led military alliance represents a break from the position of neutrality that the country maintained for decades so as not to harm relations with the Soviet Union and later with Russia. The war that Russia started with Ukraine on February 24, 2022 changed Helsinki’s position.
Along with Finland, Sweden has also formally applied for NATO membership, but its entry is still pending due to opposition from Turkey. Ankara accuses Stockholm of harboring Kurdish militants belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organization by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The length of the land border between Finland and Russia is over 1,270 kilometers. That is, in practice, Russia’s border with NATO has doubled in size. The total length of the Russian Federation’s land borders with other alliance countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Norway) was about 1,260 kilometers.
Halting NATO expansion close to Russian borders was Putin’s main justification for intervening in Ukraine.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Serguei Ryabkov said Moscow will calibrate its actions.
“Everything will be calibrated in an environment of proportional change, its security will not be strengthened, the security of the North Atlantic alliance as a whole will not be strengthened. Any threats towards us will be parried,” Ryabkov told Rossiya 24 TV channel.
Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had stated that NATO expansion is forcing Russia to take countermeasures to ensure its own security, both tactically and strategically. According to him, Moscow will closely monitor what will happen in Finland after joining the alliance and, based on that, will take the necessary measures.
The Kremlin spokesman stressed that Finland’s accession to NATO cannot but affect the nature of bilateral relations, as the military alliance is a “hostile structure for Russia”.
Editing: Thales Schmidt