Blinken says he wanted to ‘thank’ Putin for giving Finland a reason to join NATO by invading Ukraine

By Dave DeCamp,

Finland formally became the 31st member of NATO on Tuesday, officially ending the country’s post-World War II policy of neutrality and raising tensions between Helsinki and Moscow.

Finland and NATO flags

“Finland has today become a member of the defense alliance NATO. The era of military non-alignment in our history has come to an end. A new era begins,” the Finnish presidency said in a statement.

The ascension into NATO was completed during a ceremony attended by Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Finland joining NATO more than doubles the alliance’s territory that borders Russia. Moscow has said it will respond by beefing up its military presence in the region and will take more measures if other NATO countries deploy military assets to Finnish territory.

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