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Photo of the flag of Finland being hoisted in front of NATO's headquarters in Brussels

Putin's Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Russia Now Has An 800-Mile Border With NATO

Russia's president only has himself to blame for historically neutral Finland acquiring NATO status.


PARISVladimir Putin used to complain that NATO territory was advancing towards Russia: as of Tuesday, he now has 1,340 kilometers (833 miles) of common border with a nation that has been welcomed into the Atlantic alliance, with the accession of Finland as the 31st member of NATO.

But the Russian president will not be able to blame NATO’s expansionism: He can only blame himself for this expansion. A year ago, Finland was firmly anchored in its neutral status, and it took the Russian invasion of Ukraine to break it out.

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With Sweden, a country that has been neutral for even longer, the two Nordic neighbors quickly built a national consensus around the idea that it was no longer time for neutrality with a war on their doorstep. Decades of political posturing have been swept away in a few weeks — Putin has provoked the unthinkable.

But if there were two at the start (Sweden and Finland), there is only one left at the finish line: Sweden is stuck in the process of ratifying its membership, due to delaying tactics, mainly coming from Turkey. Stockholm will have to wait a few more weeks, at least until the Turkish election on May 15.

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