In a historic change brought on by the conflict in Ukraine, Finland has joined NATO, angering Russian officials who have portrayed the decision as a threat.
About a year after Helsinki officially submitted its application, the Finnish flag was flown at the largest military alliance in the world’s headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday afternoon.
In reaction to Finland’s membership, Russia has long claimed that NATO enlargement compromises its security and made a commitment to increase military capacity in its western and northwestern regions.
President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials claim that one of the reasons why armed forces were dispatched into Ukraine in February 2022 was to thwart purported Western plans to use that country as a springboard for aggression against Russia.
They claim that they are currently engaged in a “hybrid war” with NATO and the West, who are arming and funding Ukraine with multibillion-dollar packages.
Just before accepting the documents, Blinken said: “I’m tempted to say this is maybe the one thing that we can thank Putin for.”
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