From the beginning of the Russian invasion (February 24, 2022), Finland and Sweden sent military equipment to Ukraine. The question of a possible accession of these two countries to NATO quickly arose. Finland filed its application on May 15, 2022. Sweden followed the next day.
It takes the unanimity of NATO countries to accept a new member. However, Turkey initially said no to the two candidates because of the presence of Kurdish terrorists (PKK), with whom it is in conflict, on their territory. Negotiations broke the deadlock. “I’m impressed with how quickly it happened,” said Robert Baines, CEO of the NATO Association of Canada. It is difficult to reach a consensus of 30 on international issues. »
NATO suddenly doubles its land border with Russia, because Finland shares a 1340 kilometer border with this country. Before, only Estonia and Latvia had a common border on the western flank of Russia. To the far north, Norway shares a 200 kilometer border. Added to this is the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, wedged between Poland and Lithuania, two NATO member countries.
Calling the gesture a threat, Alexander Grushko, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, announced on Monday the adoption of “additional measures to reliably ensure Russia’s military security” on its border with Finland. “I doubt it will go very far, because Russia has all its resources concentrated in Ukraine,” said Stéphane Roussel, full professor at the National School of Administration.
This is not the principle of the Atlantic Alliance, which is one of defence. “By becoming a member of NATO, Finland adheres to the principle that if a member country is attacked, all are affected,” said Robert Baines. That Russia deploys its forces along the Finnish border does not change the fact that NATO does not define itself as a belligerent, but as a protector in case of attack. »
After World War II and during the Cold War, Finland maintained strict neutrality. The Finns retained the traumatic memory of the invasion of their territory by the USSR during the Winter War (30 November 1939-13 March 1940). But the Russians were also suspicious, recalls Stéphane Roussel, because after the invasion of the USSR by Germany in June 1941, Finland also attacked its neighboring giant (Continuation War). “It was the price to pay in the aftermath of World War II,” Roussel said. The USSR tolerated Finland, but it had to neutralize itself so as not to pose a threat. »
Following the breakup of the USSR, Finland retained its neutrality. On the other hand, it gradually moved closer to the West and joined the European Union on January 1, 1995. In November 2022, a poll indicated that 78% of Finns were in favor of the country joining the EU. NATO.
No. First, the transfer of power has not yet taken place. Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and two ministers from Marin’s cabinet, Antti Kaikkonen (National Defence) and Pekka Haavisto (Foreign Affairs), will be in Brussels on Tuesday to participate in the signing ceremonies. Moreover, in his victory speech, the leader of the National Coalition (NCP), Petteri Orpo, indicated that Finland remains firmly on the side of Ukraine in the current conflict.
Turkey maintains its reservations against Sweden, which still harbors PKK supporters. Turkey also did not like that on the eve of the Swedish minister’s visit to Ankara at the end of January, an anti-Islamist demonstration, where the Koran was burned, was authorized in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm .
A written response from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, was sent to us on Monday evening. “When [Vladimir] Putin invaded Ukraine, he thought he could split NATO. He lost, said the minister. Today, as the Finnish flag is raised at NATO Headquarters, we are more united than ever. Canada is proud to have been the first country to ratify Finland’s membership, and we have worked with Finland and our NATO partners to maintain momentum throughout the ratification process. The Minister also recalls that Canada was the first country to ratify Sweden’s accession protocol and asks Turkey and Hungary to do so in turn.