WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Tuesday, Finland officially joined the NATO military alliance. “A new era begins,” President of Finland Sauli Niinistö said.
Finland’s President stood alongside U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other NATO officials for the historic event.
“We can now declare that Finland is the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” Blinken said.
The new membership significantly increases Russia’s border with the alliance and is a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I’m tempted to say this is maybe the one thing we can thank Mr. Putin for,” Blinken said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin considers NATO expansion a threat and used Ukraine’s potential interest in joining as a justification for his invasion.
“President Putin has not changed course in Ukraine,” Jen Stoltenberg NATO Secretary-General said.
Here in the U.S., the nation’s governors are expressing continued bipartisan support for Ukraine.
“This is an existentially important fight for us to win,” Gov. Phil Murphey (D-N.J.) said.
Tuesday, Murphy and Gov. Spencer Cox (R-Utah) and dozens of other governors were on a video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about his country’s humanitarian and security situation.
“He made the case that thousands of lives that have been saved because of the contribution of the states and of the United States to the war effort there,” Cox said.
The White House also announced additional security assistance for Ukraine, which includes new air defense capabilities, ammunition, and anti-armor systems.