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Russia threatens unspecified countermeasures against Finland's accession to NATO • Lithuania bans real estate sales to Russians

Today marks 74 years since the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Every day a new member joins today. As of this afternoon, once all the formalities are over, Finland will be the 31st member of the military alliance. Some facts about Finnish enrollment:

• Turkey, the last of all member states to ratify, must present a letter of acceptance to Finnish membership to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The United States is the guardian of the North Atlantic Treaty.

• After that, Finland must hand over its own letter of acceptance to Blinken. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Havisto has been authorized by President Sauli Niinisto to sign the document on behalf of Finland.

• Finland is an official member when the documents are handed over. The Finnish flag will then be raised at NATO headquarters in Brussels at 3.30pm. Flags are in alphabetical order. So Finland falls between Estonia and France.

•Finland is the 31st member of NATO. The latest enlargement took place in 2020, when North Macedonia joined the coalition.

• Finland’s entry into NATO is the fastest in the alliance’s history. The official application for this was made on May 18 last year.

• Finland’s annexation would add more than 1,300 kilometers of border between NATO territory and Russia. This is a huge double.

AP – The Finnish flag will fly from this afternoon on the empty pole between the Estonian and French flags.

Joram Bolle

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