Finland is Nato’s newest member

Finland has formally joined Nato, doubling the US-led alliance’s border with Russia

Finland has a long eastern border with Russia
Finland has a long eastern border with Russia

Finland became Nato’s 31st member on Tuesday in a historic shift for the formerly non-aligned country that was provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland’s membership doubles the US-led military alliance’s border with Russia and strengthens Nato’s presence in the Baltic Sea.

Public opinion in Finland shifted rapidly in favour of Nato membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and along with Sweden formally applied to join the alliance last May.

Both countries had previously both adopted a policy of non-alignment but after the Ukraine invasion, they chose the protection of Nato's Article Five, which says an attack on one member is an attack on all.

This means that if Finland were invaded or attacked, all Nato members - including the US - would come to its aid.

“This will make Finland safer and Nato stronger,” Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday.
Turkey and Hungary, both Nato members, for different reasons of their own, delayed Finland's bid to join the alliance and Sweden’s progress remains blocked.

But last week, the Turkish parliament voted to clear Finland's last hurdle and thus completing the ratification process.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that Russia would be “watching closely” what happens in Finland, describing Nato’s enlargement as a “violation of our security and our national interests”.

Finnish membership in Nato comes on the back of Russia's decision to hand over its short-range Iskander-M ballistic missile system to Belarus. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the system was capable of carrying nuclear as well as conventional weapons. 

Stoltenberg said Nato had not yet seen any changes to Russia's nuclear posture that would require any change by the alliance. He added there would be no Nato troops stationed in Finland without the consent of the government in Helsinki.