Finland has officially joined NATO, becoming the 31st member of the transatlantic defensive alliance.
The Nordic nation had applied to join the alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with neighboring Sweden which is expected to see its application also approved. Finland’s membership was made official at a ceremony attended by guests including US secretary of state Antony Blinken as well as the Finnish president, foreign and defense ministers.
“It’s a great day for Finland and an important day for NATO,” said Sauli Niinistö, the president of Finland. “Russia tried to create a sphere around them and … we’re not a sphere. I’m sure Finns themselves feel more secure that we are living in a more stable world.”
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Joe Biden applauded the conclusion of Finland’s accelerated accession procedure, stating that NATO was more united than ever.
“When Putin launched his brutal war of aggression, he thought he could divide Europe and NATO. He was wrong,” Biden, adding that he also “looked forward to welcoming Sweden as a NATO member as soon as possible”.
“Together, strengthened by our newest ally, Finland, we will continue to preserve transatlantic security, defend every inch of NATO territory, and meet any and all challenges we face.”
Sweden and Finland, which share an 830-mile border with Russia, submitted membership applications simultaneously in May of last year, abandoning decades of military neutrality to pursue security as NATO members following the Russian invasion.