LIVE: NATO incorporates Finland as its 31st member

Finland will officially become a member of NATO on Tuesday and will join the ranks of the world’s largest security alliance.

Faced with this historic step, neighboring Russia has already warned that it will reinforce its defenses near the border they share if NATO deploys additional troops or equipment to what will be its 31st member.

It is planned that the blue and white flag of Finland is flown among those of its partners in front of the NATO headquarters in Brussels. The country’s president and the foreign and defense ministers will participate in the event.

“This is a truly historic day, a great day for the Alliance”, assured the Allied Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, who recalled that the ceremony will coincide with the 74th anniversary of the birth of NATO, on April 4, 1949.

Finland shares a 1,340 kilometer (832 mi) border with Russiaso its addition will more than double the size of the NATO border with the country. The decision is a strategic and political setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long complained about the Alliance’s expansion into his nation.

This is how the NATO map looks in Europe (Infographic: Marcelo Regalado)

Finland will contribute to the Alliance substantial military forces, well trained, well equipped, also with a large army of reservists”, said Stoltenberg, who stressed that Helsinki is “among the few countries that did not reduce investment in defense at the end of the Second World War”.

Turkey was the latest ally to ratify Finland’s accession protocol on Thursday. Before the ceremony, Ankara will hand over the document officially enshrining that decision to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Finland will then provide Blinken with their own texts to make their entry official.

Alarmed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022, leaving decades of military non-alignment behind. to seek the protection of the organization’s security umbrella.

The neighbor Sweden He also presented his candidacy, but his entry process could take a few more months. Ankara continues to have doubts about Sweden’s commitments to tackle Kurdish terrorism.

Stoltenberg expressed confidence that Sweden would become a member of the Alliance, which he considered “a priority for NATO” and “for me”, adding that he hopes that will happen in the “near future”.

“It is the fastest accession process in history,” he added, in any case, about the progress of both countries, which were formally invited to join the Alliance last summer.

(With information from EFE and AP)

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