- 1440 Daily Digest
Finland Joins NATO
Finland formally became the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the world's largest military alliance, ending the military nonalignment it has maintained since 1945. The move adds 832 miles to and nearly doubles the alliance's border with Russia and is seen as a blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who cited one reason for invading Ukraine was opposition to NATO's expansion toward the east. Putin warned Russia would take unspecified countermeasures and scale up forces near the border if NATO sent troops or equipment to Finland. The NATO collective defense principle maintains all allies must respond if one ally is attacked. Finland has well-equipped, active armed forces of about 23,000 and can call on around 280,000 reserves in wartime. It also boasts the largest artillery capability in Western Europe, with a reported 1,500 pieces in operation. Neighboring Sweden, which has also applied, has faced objections from Turkey and Hungary for allegedly supporting Kurdish militants.