NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has announced that Finland will formally enter the Western military alliance as its 31st member as soon as Tuesday.
"This is a historic week," Stoltenberg told reporters the day before NATO foreign ministers are were set to meet in Brussels. During the Monday comments, he emphasized: "From tomorrow, Finland will be a full member of the alliance." He also expressed hope of Sweden joining in the following months.
The announcement of the Scandinavian country's speedy accession came the week after both Hungarian and Turkish parliaments belatedly voted to approve Finnish membership in NATO. Turkey had been the last holdout, and is still not expected to approve Sweden's application.
Stoltenberg continued in his celebratory remarks, "we will raise the Finnish flag for the first time here at the NATO headquarters. It will be a good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic security, and for NATO as a whole."
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen, and Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto are expected to join Stoltenberg Tuesday for a televised flag-raising and induction ceremony on Tuesday:
Stoltenberg said that Turkey, the last country to have ratified Finland’s membership, will hand its official texts to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday. Stoltenberg said he would then invite Finland to do the same.
Russia, which shares an 810 mile border with Finland, has meanwhile announced it will strengthen its defenses along its western and northwestern frontiers.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said to RIA: "We will strengthen our military potential in the western and northwestern direction. In the event that the forces and resources of other NATO members are deployed in Finland, we will take additional steps to reliably ensure Russia’s military security."
Meanwhile, the Finnish leader who helped push hard for NATO entry in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine has just conceded defeat after Sunday's parliamentary election, in a major setback for the Finnish left...
The Prime Minister of Finland 🇫🇮, Sanna Marin, who pushed for Self-ID Laws, for Men to use Women’s Spaces & for Kids to be transitioned, has been defeated at the polls. 🗳️— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) April 3, 2023
The country has chosen to remove her from office and elect a conservative coalition government. pic.twitter.com/esQ0E5qpye
"Finland’s left-wing Prime Minister Sanna Marin conceded defeat on Sunday in the Nordic country’s parliamentary election as the opposition right-wing National Coalition Party (NCP) claimed victory in a tightly fought contest," CNN reports Monday.