As Finland became the 31st member of NATO on Tuesday, CND has condemned the latest enlargement and called for a new common security architecture to be discussed – which moves away from militarisation and nuclear weapons.
The ceremony outside NATO HQ in Brussels was attended by Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, Finnish President Sauli Niinstö, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, NATO foreign ministers, and NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.
Speaking ahead of a flag raising ceremony, Stoltenberg said Finland’s accession proved that Vladimir Putin had failed to shut NATO’s door. “Instead of less NATO, he has achieved the opposite; more NATO and our door remains firmly open,” he said.
Stoltenberg added that he also looked forward to Sweden joining NATO in the near future. Both Sweden and Finland announced their intention to join NATO last July following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine . While most NATO members quickly approved their applications, Sweden’s path to membership has been delayed by Hungary and Turkey. Budapest has complained about Swedish criticism of its internal politics, while Turkey has called for greater Swedish help in extraditing people Ankara say are terrorists.
Finland’s 1,300 km border with Russia now means that the frontier between Russia and NATO has doubled. Russia responded to the news by saying it would increase its military capacity in its west and northwest regions.
CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:
“Enlargement has been at the centre of nuclear-armed NATO’s strategic concept for the past three decades irrespective of the tension and increased militarisation that it has caused. Coupled with the scheduled deployment of the upgraded B61-12 nuclear bomb to NATO bases in Europe this year, the expansion of its frontier with Russia further increases tensions and significantly risks escalation to nuclear war. CND is renewing calls for serious discussion on a new common security framework for Europe and beyond – which moves away from militarism and takes greater steps towards achieving nuclear disarmament.”
Photo credit: NATO / Flickr