Finland Deals Russia a Big Blow

Nordic country joins NATO, more than doubling
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2023 9:33 AM CDT
'Major Blow to Russia' as Finland Joins NATO
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, left, hands over his nation's accession document to United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, April 4, 2023.   (Johanna Geron, Pool Photo via AP)

Russia will think twice before invading neighboring Finland as the latter country officially joined "the world’s biggest security alliance" on Tuesday, NATO's 74th birthday, per the AP. Finland became the 31st NATO member state when Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto handed an official accession document to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at NATO headquarters in Brussels, per Reuters. The US State Department is "the repository of NATO texts concerning membership," as the AP explains. The outlet calls the move "a major blow to Russia," whose president, Vladimir Putin, has "long complained about NATO’s expansion toward Russia and partly used that as a justification" for the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Finland and Sweden—whose application is still being debated—applied for NATO membership just months after the invasion. "This is maybe the one thing that we can thank Mr. Putin for because he once again here precipitated something he claims to want to prevent by Russia's aggression, causing many countries to believe that they have to do more to look out for their own defense and to make sure that they can deter possible Russian aggression going forward," Blinken said, per the AP.

"This will make Finland safer and NATO stronger," added Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, per the BBC. However, he said no NATO troops would be sent to Finland unless the country requested them, per the AP. With the length of Russia's border with NATO member states now doubled to more than 1,600 miles, Russia's Foreign Ministry has threatened "retaliatory measures to counter the threats to our national security." On Tuesday, Finland's Parliament said its website was targeted in a denial-of-service attack, which was claimed by a pro-Russian hacker group as retaliation for the NATO accession, per the AP. (More Finland stories.)

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