Finland officially joined NATO, the world’s largest security alliance, on Tuesday. The Scandinavian country initiated an application for NATO shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Last Thursday, NATO got the final approval to allow the country into the alliance with Turkey signing off on Finland’s application, Deseret News reported.

What will Finland joining NATO mean for the security alliance?

Following World War II, Finland followed a strategy of neutrality, but with the country joining NATO, it “represents a major change in Europe’s security landscape,” according to The Associated Press.

Now that Finland is part of NATO, the alliance’s shared borders with Russia have doubled, and Russian President Vladimir Putin “has long complained about NATO’s expansion toward Russia and partly used that as a justification for the invasion,” per the AP.

“We are constantly assessing our posture, our presence. We have more exercises, we have more presence, also in the Nordic area,” NATO Security-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters before Finland was set to join, per the AP.

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Finland does have a modern military and has 64 F-35 fighter planes. It spends 2% of its annual economic output on the military, which is in compliance with NATO standards, according to The Washington Post.

What is the history of Finland and NATO?

NATO was founded in 1949 by a group of Western countries “as a means of collective security against the Soviet Union and its allies,” the Post reported. Since it was founded, Finland and Sweden did not express interest in aligning with NATO until after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Because NATO requires a unanimous approval process, Hungary and Turkey refusing to approve Finland and Sweden’s applications held off the approval process for just over a year. Hungary claimed that Sweden and Finland were telling “outright lies” about the country’s democratic process. Turkey claimed the Scandinavian countries were “housing Kurdish ‘terrorist organizations,’” according to CNN.

Sweden has not been ratified to join NATO yet, and there are more steps to be taken before it gets accepted. Finnish President Sauli Ninistö expressed support for Sweden, saying, “I have a feeling that Finnish NATO membership is not complete without Sweden,” the Post reported.

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