HELSINKI – Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine is failing, big time. By invading Ukraine, Putin intended to prevent NATO from expanding along the border with Russia. Instead, the opposite is developing. Today, Finland announced that it wants to join NATO and Sweden is expected to do the same.
On the streets of Finland’s capital, Helsinki, CBN News found overwhelming support for joining NATO.
“If you look at Russian behavior, I think there are quite a few options for us,” Kirsti, a Helsinki resident, told CBN News.
Sharing an 830-mile border with Russia, Finland is historically neutral. However, Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has so alarmed this Nordic country that it is now rushing to find safe haven in the arms of NATO.
“I think we should have done it like two decades ago, but it’s about time we did it,” said Henri, a worried Finn.
The Finns understand what the Ukrainians are going through today because they only have to look at their own history and their experience with the Russians. In November 1939, the Russians decide to invade this tiny nation under the pretext that they were saving Finland from the Nazis.
Decades later, the Finns see Russia as a clear and present danger.
“We had fights against Russia twice, 1933 and 1940-1945, so we have to get some allies,” a Helsinki resident named Paul told us.
Neighboring Sweden, another Nordic country, is also expected to join NATO in a few days.
“President Putin thought he could cause division, but he has achieved the opposite,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson warned. “We are here today more united than ever and with the ambition to strengthen our ties even more.”
Moscow warned both countries not to join forces and promised a military response.
Hannu Haukka, who runs Finland’s largest Christian television network, says his country has been preparing for the possibility of a Russian attack for years, buying a wide range of military assets.
Meanwhile, troops from the US, UK, Latvia and Estonia recently took part in military exercises in western Finland.
“We have already reacted to a potential scenario where Russia would even try or even think about trying to invade Finland,” Dr. Hannu Haukka, president of Alfa TV, told CBN News.
On Wednesday, the British prime minister joined the United States and Germany in vowing to defend both Nordic countries if they were attacked.
“From the North to the Baltic and beyond, our armed forces will train, operate and exercise together, combining our defense and security capabilities and formalizing a commitment that we will always help each other,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a meeting with his Finnish counterpart in Helsinki.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has clearly had unintended consequences.
Despite Putin’s demands that NATO withdraw its forces from Eastern Europe, the alliance now appears poised to welcome new members, much to the dismay of the Kremlin.