The Finnish flag now flies proudly alongside those of NATO’s member nations at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, signifying the country’s recent accession to the alliance. However, the circumstances surrounding Finland’s membership are not celebratory. Fearing Russian aggression and the invasion of Ukraine, Finland sought security with NATO, a move that Russia views as a threat to its national interests.
Finland’s accession to NATO will almost double the alliance’s land border with Russia, which Russia sees as affecting its national interests. This perception has heightened tensions between NATO and Russia, with Russian officials warning of consequences for Finnish membership in the alliance. Russia has also increased its military activities in the region, conducting large-scale military exercises near Finland’s border and building up its military presence in the Arctic.
Despite these concerns, NATO has no immediate plans to station troops in Finland, and the country prefers to maintain its defense under its own control. Nonetheless, Russia’s aggressive actions in the region suggest that Finland’s membership in NATO does not guarantee security. In fact, Finland’s decision to join NATO could further destabilize the region, as Russia views it as a provocative move and may respond with further aggression.
Sweden’s desire to join the alliance was also on the agenda at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting. Sweden, which already works closely with NATO and has received security guarantees from key NATO countries, faces resistance from Turkey. The Turkish government argues that Sweden is not doing enough to crack down on Kurdish terrorists, which has prevented the country’s accession to NATO. However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has assured Sweden that it is not alone and that Turkey’s stance may change after its upcoming presidential election.
The situation in Ukraine is another important issue on NATO’s agenda. The country has been embroiled in a conflict with Russia since 2014, and NATO has supported Ukraine in various forms, including through establishing the NATO-Ukraine Commission and providing financial and technical assistance. Ukraine has also applied for membership in NATO, but the ongoing conflict in the region makes this prospect unlikely.
Nonetheless, despite the country’s strategic location and the potential consequences of Russian aggression in the region, NATO’s support for Ukraine is critical. The NATO fund for Ukraine, which has received pledges of support from the Netherlands and Germany, can serve as a temporary solution until the country can possibly join NATO. However, NATO’s expansion into Ukraine may also lead to further tensions with Russia, as it may see it as a threat.
The prospect of NATO expansion is a sensitive issue, especially given its relationship with Russia. While NATO countries try to ensure their security by cooperating and supporting each other, this could further increase tensions with Russia. NATO emphasizes that it is not an aggressive alliance but a defensive one. Its goal is to promote the region’s peace and stability, not cause conflict.
The situation in the region is complex, and the balance between security and stability is delicate. As NATO continues to navigate this geopolitical landscape, its actions will have significant implications for international politics and security. The alliance’s expansion and support for Ukraine may further heighten tensions. However, it is important that NATO continue to emphasize its defensive nature and seek a peaceful solution to regional conflicts.
Finland’s accession to NATO is an important step for the alliance and Finland. The country will now cooperate more closely with other NATO countries and can count on the alliance’s support in case of a Russian threat. However, Finland’s accession may also lead to further tensions between NATO and Russia, especially since the land border between Russia and NATO will now be almost twice as long. NATO’s support for Ukraine is also an important issue, with the country facing ongoing conflict with Russia. While the prospect of Ukrainian membership in NATO is unlikely, the alliance’s support for Ukraine is critical, given the country’s strategic location and the potential consequences of Russian aggression in the region. NATO must balance its commitment to collective defense with the need to avoid provoking Russia and escalating the conflict.