Finally Finland



The Finnish president Sauli Niinisto (left)shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (right) at the ceremony of Finland joining NATO this month.

February 24th of this year marked the one-year anniversary of Russia invading Ukraine. Since February 2022, there have been over 60,000 casualties, including over 8,400 deaths of Ukraine civilians, because of the Russia and Ukraine war. 

“It’s really terrifying to think how quickly this invasion changed so many lives. One day families were living in peace, and the next they were fleeing abroad from conflict,” said San Marcos sophomore, Ilan Abramov. 

This invasion has left other countries, like Finland and Sweden, uneasy which prompted them to apply to become a member of NATO, (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) which was founded April 4, 1949, last May. While Sweden’s joining is still stalled by Turkey and Hungary’s lack of approval, as of April 4, 2023 Finland was accepted by unanimous agreement to join NATO. Finland becoming a member more than doubles NATO’s accumulated shared border with Russia since Finland shares a border of 832-miles with them. During the ceremony, Finland’s white-and-blue flag was raised beside 30 other flags at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

“Finland’s a terrific ally, very capable, shares our values and we expect a seamless transition into its proper seat at the table,” said U.S. ambassador Julianne Smith, as reported by the BBC.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, expressed in the past that he wanted to stop the expansion of NATO. This was one of his motivations in invading Ukraine. He has been proven wrong seeing as more countries now want to join NATO, a large part due to Article 5 of NATO’s agreement which says that an attack on one member is an attack on all.  

Finland benefits NATO in three key areas including artillery forces, technology access, and reserve forces. Nordic countries in general are known for their preparation, but Finland is especially prepared should anything with Russia arise because much distrust has been shared between the two countries historically. 

During the beginning of World War II in 1939, Finland was invaded by the Soviet Union since they feared that Finland’s territory could become a base for the Germans because of its location. The Winter War ended in 1940 with the signing of the Treaty of Moscow where Finland lost 11% of its territory to Russia. From that time forward Finland remained neutral, but the invasion of Ukraine led to Finland seeing the importance of joining NATO and protecting their border with Russia.