Finland Announces It Will Join NATO, Sweden to Follow, While Moscow Makes Its Usual Threats – Opinion

Thursday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced, “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay.” Finland will officially apply for membership early next week and will be a NATO member by the weekend. Finland, a nation whose name became synonymous with neutrality during the Cold War, brings to an end over two months of debate kicked off by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The move has been anticipated ever since Hungary’s Viktor Orban agreed to support Finland’s application for membership; Hungary’s Viktor Orban Clears the Way for Finland to Join NATO in a Matter of Months.

“The war started by Russia jeopardizes the security and stability of the whole of Europe,”  said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has altered the European and Finnish security environment.”

For context, the decision was made six months ago when only 20% of Finns wanted NATO membership. Today, more than 80% are keen to become NATO members.

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto made it very clear to Vladimir Putin that the only reason Finland is joining NATO is threats made by Russia to Finland in conjunction with Putin’s War. As I posted back when the war started, Finland, in particular, was very vulnerable to Russian territorial claims; see Putin’s Threats to Sweden and Finland Are Much More Real Than They Are Being Given Credit For.

Russia is obviously not pleased. This is a translation of the statement churned out by Sergey Lavrov’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

The policy of military neutrality served the purpose of stabilizing the Northern European region for decades. It also provided security and stability for Finland’s state. This was the foundation for mutually-beneficial cooperation between the countries. In this context, military involvement was virtually eliminated.

Neither Russia’s assurances of the absence of any hostile intentions towards Finland, nor the long history of good-neighborly and mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries convinced Helsinki of the advantages of maintaining a policy of military non-alignment.

The goal of NATO, whose member countries vigorously convinced the Finnish side that there was no alternative to membership in the alliance, is clear – to continue expanding towards the borders of Russia, to create another flank for a military threat to our country. However, why would Finland make its territory an area of military confrontation against the Russian Federation while losing its autonomy in its decisions? History will tell.

Russian officials have repeatedly stated that Finland’s authorities are able to choose from a variety of security measures to protect its nation. Helsinki should be conscious of its responsibility and the consequences for such an action. Finland’s accession to NATO will cause serious damage to bilateral Russian-Finnish relations, maintaining stability and security in the Northern European region. Russia will need to take military-technical as well as other retaliatory measures to counter any potential threats to national security.

As such, joining NATO is a violation of Finland’s international legal obligations. These include the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty which states that parties cannot form alliances with one another or join in any coalitions against them. The 1992 Treaty between Russia, Finland and Estonia on the basis of relations also stipulates that neither party will use its territory to armed aggression. To be fair, the West has not yet embraced international law.

We’ll react to whatever the circumstances call for.

“Long history of good-neighborly and mutually beneficial cooperation.”…lolol.

Russia threatens Finland with “retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature.” It also accuses Finland of violating the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947(spoiler alert, there is no such provision in the treaty, and Russia was not a party to the treaty in any case) and a 1992 Treaty between Russia and Finland (this treaty appears to do just the opposite of what the Russian Foreign Ministry claims; it requires the parties to observe “the inviolability of borders, territorial integrity, the peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs”). No one is sure what retaliation “of a military-technical nature” is, but we have seen the term used before. This quote is from February 17, a week before Putin’s War started.

Meanwhile Russia, in its letter to the U.S., reiterated its demands for new binding commitments, including that Ukraine would never join NATO, that missiles would not be deployed near Russia’s borders, and that NATO pull all of its forces out of Eastern Europe.

“In the absence of the readiness of the American side to agree on firm, legally binding guarantees to ensure our security from the United States and its allies,” the letter stated, “Russia will be forced to respond, including by implementing measures of a military-technical nature.”

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said Finland had become a target.

Speaking to UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers, First Deputy Representative of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy has said that Sweden and Finland joining the bloc would turn them overnight from neutral into enemy countries and become a “target” for Russia.

“They know that the moment they become members of NATO it will imply certain mirror moves on the Russian side,” he said. “If there are NATO detachments in those territories, these territories would become a target — or a possible target — for a strike.”

“NATO is a very unfriendly bloc to us — it is an enemy and NATO itself admitted that Russia is an enemy. That means Finland and Sweden will become enemy countries and all risks. So they would bear certain defence risks of course, certain economic costs — but it’s up to them to decide… They were living normally as good neighbours with us for tens of years; if they suddenly choose to become part of a very unfriendly bloc, it’s up to them.

The diplomat implied, however, that Russia was not especially concerned about the decision, and that it didn’t change the security situation in Europe.

“I don’t think it will really be a blow to the security of Russia that these two states become members of NATO — hopefully they won’t but if they do it would be the worst solution for them, but not for Russia. Russia is prepared to meet NATO threats. Russia has taken the appropriate precautions. It doesn’t change very much the security situation in Europe, which is dominated and aggravated by the NATO threat to Russia for many years.”

No story on Russia can be complete these days without including references to Russia nuking anyone.

Most striking about Russia’s response is its acceptance of Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Russia doesn’t say Finland can’t join; there is just a stark realization that the security environment has changed.

One immediate threat of retaliation was cutting off Finland’s natural gas supply.

Sweden is next.

This week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed a security pact with Sweden guaranteeing to come to Sweden’s aid if it is attacked before it becomes a NATO member.

Sweden sees the Russian threat in a different light than Finland. The Russian-controlled enclave Kaliningrad is just 100 miles away from Gotland in Sweden. Given Russia’s current mood, it would be easy to see an attempt made to seize the island. Russian Attack Aircraft with Nuclear Weapons on Board Infringe Swedish Air Space, Sweden Joins NATO

The war against NATO expansion in Ukraine led to the addition of two NATO member countries with Russian borders. Even six months ago, the idea of Sweden or Finland joining NATO would have caused a lot of laughter. It is even more bizarre that Russia, fearing encirclement, went to war and now has the rope around its neck.


Remember this illustration of Putin’s political intelligence the next time somebody tries to convince that Putin is playing multidimensional chess.


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