On Tuesday Finland will become the 31st nation to formally join NATO which has had “exactly the opposite affect” that Vladimir Putin wanted which is another reason why he invaded Ukraine to prevent further expansions of the alliance around Russia.
Putin had demanded that he wants “less NATO along” the Russian borders and Finland which has always remained neutral since the Second World War, but since the war in Ukraine they are now cautious that Moscow could invade them.
NATO’s Secretary General said that previously it would have been “unthinkable” for Finland to join the alliance but Putin’s actions has forced their hand because he has shown he “is willing to use military force” against neighbouring countries.
Stoltenberg said, “This is part of a pattern and that is exactly why we have strengthened NATO, our readiness, our presence in the eastern part of the alliance.
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“It was actually the invasion of Ukraine last year that led to the decision by Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
“I’m glad and I’m proud to be the secretary-general that can welcome Finland as a fully-fledged member of the alliance.”
He added, “You can just look at a map and understand how important Finland is for security in the Nordic and the Baltic region.”
The former British chief of the general staff Lord Dannatt warned on Tuesday that “tensions will rise” as Finland joins NATO today.
Lord Dannatt told Sky News, “Putin may well try and play it to his people that this is NATO expanding – technically that is correct – but why is it expanding?
“Because there is a growing concern among countries like Finland and Sweden that Russia represents a threat to them and it is therefore not unreasonable that those two countries are seeking the overall protection of the NATO umbrella.”
He added, “There will be tensions and of course those tensions will rise, unsurprisingly, when at some point in the future other NATO countries make deterrent deployments in Finnish territory along the Russian border.”