Finland to join NATO Tuesday, military alliance chief says

The national flags of countries member of the NATO fly outside the organisation headquarters in Brussels on April 3, 2023. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday Finland will become the 31st member of the world’s biggest military alliance on Tuesday, prompting a warning from Russia that it would bolster its defenses near their joint border if NATO deploys any troops in its new member.

“This is a historic week,” Stoltenberg told reporters on the eve of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. “From tomorrow, Finland will be a full member of the alliance.” He said that he hopes Sweden will be able to join NATO in coming months.

The former Norwegian prime minister said that on Tuesday afternoon, “we will raise the Finnish flag for the first time here at the NATO headquarters. It will be a good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic security, and for NATO as a whole.”

Stoltenberg said that Turkey, the last country to have ratified Finland’s membership, will hand its official texts to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday. Stoltenberg said he would then invite Finland to do the same.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen will attend the ceremony, along with Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

“It is a historic moment for us. For Finland, the most important objective at the meeting will be to emphasize NATO’s support to Ukraine as Russia continues its illegal aggression,” Haavisto said in a statement. “We seek to promote stability and security throughout the Euro-Atlantic region.”

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Defence chief wanted CF-18s to destroy object over Yukon, but fighters were delayed, The Canadian Press

Finland: Russian shoppers take Norway’s Schengen shortcut to Arctic Finland, Yle News

Greenland: Historic Hans Island agreement with Canada moves from Copenhagen to Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Climate, integration & Arctic among priorities in Iceland’s Nordic Council of Ministers program, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: NATO will make us stronger, says Nordic defense chiefs, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Moscow lowers ambitions in nuclear icebreaker program, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

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