How Putin drove Finland to seek NATO’s protection

By | May 13, 2022

The Wall Street Journal reports:

When Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, he sought to divide and weaken NATO. Nowhere has that strategy backfired more than in Finland.

If the Nordic country joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alongside Sweden in coming weeks, as expected, Mr. Putin will get a highly militarized NATO member next door. Russia’s border with NATO will more than double at the stroke of a pen, with an additional 830 miles.

Finland’s president and prime minister on Thursday said they hoped Finland would apply for NATO membership without delay, consolidating a political majority for Finnish membership.

That would be a historic pivot. For seven decades, Finland has maintained a unique security model based on a heavily armed military and a society prepared to mobilize in an invasion—combined with diplomacy to placate Russia by staying out of NATO.

Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine—which Russians once ruled, as they did Finland—upended assumptions behind the model.

“Russia is much more unpredictable than we ever thought,” said Piritta Asunmaa, director general of political affairs at the Finnish foreign ministry and former ambassador to NATO. “It is much more willing to take risks and even take heavy losses, and it’s also capable of mobilizing 150,000 men on the border of a neighboring country without general mobilization,” said Ms. Asunmaa, who is also disquieted by Russia’s “loose talk of using weapons of mass destruction.” [Continue reading…]

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