On April 4, 2023, the 74th anniversary of the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Finland became NATO’S 31st Ally.
Last May, in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Finland, along with its neighbor Sweden, had abandoned its decades-long policy of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO.
In Brussels, Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed Finland to NATO as he accepted the documents making Finland’s membership official. He called the day an historic one.
"I'm tempted to say this is maybe the one thing that we can thank Mr. Putin for because he once again here precipitated something he claims to want to prevent by Russia's aggression, causing many countries to believe that they have to do more to look out for their own defense and to make sure that they can deter possible Russian aggression going forward," Secretary Blinken said.
President Joe Biden also warmly welcomed Finland as NATO’s 31st Ally, noting Finland’s accession was among the fastest in modern history. “When Putin launched his brutal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine, he thought he could divide Europe and NATO,” said President Biden in a statement. “He was wrong. Today, we are more united than ever.”
President Biden noted that both Finland and Sweden “are strong democracies with highly capable militaries, who share our values and vision for the world.” He urged Türkiye and Hungary to conclude their ratification process for Sweden without delay.
NATO has helped maintain peace and stability in Europe for more than 70 years. As President Biden declared, “Together – strengthened by our newest Ally Finland – we will continue to preserve transatlantic security, defend every inch of NATO territory, and meet any and all challenges we face.”