This week Finland and Sweden, traditionally neutral nations, announced their bids to join NATO, a move that analysts say will transform Europe’s security landscape for years to come — and further strain relations with Russia, which opposes the alliance’s eastern expansion.
Finland’s border with Russia stretches more than 800 miles and is already closely patrolled. The nation’s membership would double the alliance’s land border. “On one hand, this provides NATO with enhanced deterrence as Moscow would need to defend this border,” said Carisa Nietsche, an associate fellow for the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. “On the other hand, NATO also must protect this border against a Russian attack.”
Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO would mean an increase in its presence in the Arctic.
The two countries are members of the Arctic Council, an organization overseeing the northernmost parts of the world whose members include Russia, Canada and the United States. With their membership, “Arctic security would continue to climb on NATO’s agenda,” Nietsche said.
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