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War in Ukraine | Why Finland wants to join NATO | Univision World News

NATO is precisely the military alliance that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to intimidate before – and during – the invasion of Ukraine. One of Moscow’s main demands is that NATO move away from its borders and that Ukraine be expressly prohibited from joining.

Both Finland and Sweden have a long history of neutrality but in unison, they are asking to join the military alliance. The announcements prompted threats from Russia that it will be “forced” to take retaliatory “military-technical” measures.

Russia said on Friday that will suspend electricity supply to Finlandat a time of growing tensions between the two countries due to the Nordic country’s approach to the Western military alliance. This is the first of the retaliation so far.

But first, these are the keys to understanding what NATO is and why Putin is concerned about the union of two Scandinavian countries that were not considered a threat. We explain:

What is NATO, why was it created?

It is a military alliance created in 1949 as a response to the threat of expansion of communism of the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The agreement initially included 12 countries: the US, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Much of Europe in World War II (ended in 1945) was destroyed. The NATO was created to provide security guarantees against the possibility that in Germany resurgent aspirations over neighboring countries or that the Soviet Union wanted to extend its power to the west.

What countries make up NATO?

NATO does not have an army of its own., but is organized with the forces of its member countries. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, several former Warsaw Pact countries became members of NATO. In total there are now 30 members, as seen in this is the map:

Why does Finland want to join NATO in the midst of the war in Ukraine?

To understand it, you have to understand that the NATO’s main function is “collective defence”. The NATO operates diplomatically first and then, if that doesn’t work, it activates “military power.” NATO’s principle is that “an attack against one of its members is considered an attack against all”.

Now, when Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine in February, many countries territorially close to each other began to worry: which country could be next?

One of Putin’s demands before invading Ukraine was to prohibit that country from joining NATO and for the alliance to return to its pre-1997 configuration, when it was not made up of any nation from the disappeared Soviet sphere, that is, countries like Poland, Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia left the alliance.

And while those countries began to worry, NATO is ‘watching their back’ which makes it far less likely that Russia will want to attack them and enter into direct confrontation with the alliance (something that was clearly not the case in Ukraine).

Why is Putin worried?

One of the things that worries Putin is that with the union of these countries, but especially Finland, territorially Russia is practically surrounded by NATO. The military alliance is defensive in nature, so Finland (or any other partner) is not expected to threaten Russia.

However, this growth of NATO to another border nation is just the opposite of what Putin wanted. The Russian leader has sought to decimate the alliance and intimidate it with his security demands prior to the invasion of Ukraine.

Is there a history of war between Finland and Russia?

The most recent past war between Finland and Russia is known as the Winter War (between 1939 and 1940).

At the time, Finland, which declared itself neutral at the start of World War II, feared that the Soviet Union would seek to expand into its territory.

Faced with Soviet pressure, the Finns mobilized their small army to defend themselves against the powerful Russian Red Army. A border incident was the excuse for the Russian invasion which was sloppy and poorly equipped. He was met by a modest but well-prepared Finnish force.

The Russians ended in a counteroffensive that, by early 1940, it razed the Finnish lines forcing Finland to sign a treaty in March 1940, in which it ceded more than 10% of its territory to the Soviets.

What difference would there be between Finland and Ukraine?

The alliance has not acted on Ukraine because that country is not a member of NATO. For several years, kyiv has expressed a desire to be part of the alliance, but it – aware of the delicate balance in the area – A formal process for its acceptance has not begun.

A Ukraine in NATO is considered by Putin as a security threat at the very gates of his country and he wants to prohibit the association of the former Soviet republic with the alliance, an old enemy of the Cold War.

Despite this, the alliance provides strategic advice to the Ukrainians. In the current war they are receiving financial and material support from partners of the organization, with the US at the head.

In the case of Swedes and Finns, an application for membership will be accepted without delay and full membership could be a matter of months.

That would extend to those countries the protective umbrella of NATO that would serve as a deterrent to any hostile Russian gesture and would force Moscow to consider the consequences of entering into a direct clash with the rest of the alliance.

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