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Immediate Release

Statement From Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Finland's Accession to NATO

I congratulate Finland on becoming the 31st Member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on the day of the Alliance’s 74th anniversary.
Finland is a proud democracy whose highly capable military will greatly strengthen NATO. Its decision to join the Alliance reflects the appeal of NATO’s democratic values, as well as NATO’s vital role in upholding the rules-based international order. I look forward to working alongside Finland as an Ally, and to seeing Sweden join the Alliance as soon as possible. I will travel to Sweden later this month to discuss a range of regional security issues as well as their planning for NATO accession.
More than a year into President Vladimir Putin’s cruel and unprovoked war against Ukraine, NATO is more unified and more resolute than ever. Putin’s war is not the result of NATO enlargement—it is the cause of NATO enlargement. And the United States is determined to stand with Ukraine’s brave defenders for as long as it takes. 
On this historic day, I join all of our Allies in welcoming Finland to NATO. Together, we will continue the Alliance’s urgent, vital work to support the forces of freedom, defend every inch of NATO territory, and build a safer world.