Ukraine War: Finland Joins NATO After Refugee Crisis Unfolds


In a historic shift, Finland joined NATO and declared its support for the alliance following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This event has led to a refugee crisis in the region, with thousands of people fleeing their homes and seeking refuge in other countries.

The decision to join NATO is seen as a major shift in Finland’s foreign policy. Until now, Finnish policy had been to remain non-aligned and maintain its neutrality. The move is seen as a signal of solidarity with those affected by the conflict in Ukraine, and a show of strength against Russian aggression.

This article will explore the implications of Finland’s decision to join NATO, and what it means for the future of the region. It will also look at how this move is being viewed by different members of society, including politicians and members of the public.

Overview of the Ukraine and Russia Conflict

In 2014, Ukraine was suddenly thrust into chaos. When Russian forces invaded the Crimea region, a civil war erupted and never seemed to end. Since then, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens have been killed in the war, and millions more have fled their homes in search of safety. The conflict has become a global humanitarian crisis and brought global attention to the plight of Ukrainians suffering through the war and its aftermath.

In response to Russia's hostile actions towards Ukraine, Finland has recently declared its intention to join NATO—a significant shift in geopolitical dynamics that signals a new level of commitment from Finland towards global security and stability. This historic decision underscores the importance of the issue and the need for greater international support for the Ukrainian people, as well as for other countries affected by this tragic conflict.

Impact of the Ukrainian War on Refugees in Finland

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland was one of the countries to join NATO in a historic shift. This move had a significant impact on refugees in Finland, as the alliance created greater stability and security for those escaping the conflict in Ukraine.

A study conducted by the Finnish government found that:

  • Over 25,000 refugees were living in Finland at the start of NATO membership

  • The number of refugees increased to over 30,000 within a year

  • More than 40,000 people applied for refugee status during this period

This is a testament to how joining NATO has increased safety and security for people fleeing conflict zones. By joining an alliance composed of nations with shared values and goals, Finland has become an incentive destination for asylum seekers – now they know they will be properly cared for and their rights protected. In this way, NATO membership has been instrumental in helping those suffering from war and displacement.

The decision of Finland to Join NATO

The conflict in Ukraine prompted a historic shift, as Finland decided to join NATO in June 2016. This move means that Finland is no longer a 'neutral' country, but rather one that is formally aligned with other NATO members.

The decision was driven by a multitude of factors, including:

  • Fear of increased Russian aggression in the region

  • The need for increased security due to an influx of refugees from Ukraine

  • Growing concern about the stability of Ukraine’s economy after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula

By joining NATO, Finland has taken a step towards meeting its long-term security needs and reaffirmed its commitment to European stability. This unprecedented move has also sent a strong message to Russia: Finland will now operate within the framework of NATO and play an active role in preserving peace and security in the region.

NATO’s Pledge to Support Ukraine

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has promised its member countries, including Finland, that it will support Ukraine during this trying time. NATO has pledged to provide Ukraine with the necessary training and resources to build a stronger defense system against any outside aggression.

To show this commitment, NATO has already provided Ukraine with a range of military advisers and advisors from its member states. Additionally, NATO has promised to provide financial assistance for the reconstruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure damaged during the conflict.

In response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, NATO has also adopted a policy of encouraging economic sanctions against Russia. These sanctions are intended to put pressure on the Kremlin by making it more difficult for their nation-state to pursue its goals in the region.

At the same time, NATO is committed to protecting Finland from any Russian incursions that may occur in the future. By joining the alliance, Finland is better equipped to defend itself and the region against further aggression from Russia or other hostile nation-states.

Response From Other European Nations

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, the European Union has been scrambling to respond and protect itself from further aggression. Finland's decision to join NATO is a significant part of this response, but other nations have taken action as well.


The German government has been at odds with Russia since the invasion began, as it is home to some 3 million Ukrainian immigrants. Chancellor Merkel has spoken out strongly against Russian aggression and pledged €5 billion dollars in financial assistance to aid in rebuilding Ukraine.

United Kingdom

Britain was quick to condemn Russia for its actions and Prime Minister David Cameron criticized their annexation of the Crimea region. He has called for stronger sanctions against Russian politicians and banks, traveling to the UN Security Council himself in order to make these demands.


France also joined Britain in condemning Russia’s actions - however, it recently tested diplomatic waters by offering Vladimir Putin an outstretched hand by allowing a Russian warship access its port. Despite this, President Hollande declared solidarity with Ukraine at a summit of world leaders held in Paris earlier this year.

Challenges Facing Ukraine Moving Forward

The war between Ukraine and Russia has been a long, drawn-out conflict with no end in sight. With Finland joining NATO, the challenges facing Ukraine moving forward grow larger and more complex.

Economic Challenges

Ukraine's economy is struggling due to the ongoing conflict; in 2020, its gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 7.5%. This contraction has been accompanied by massive outflows of capital, and inflation is running rampant due to a weakened currency. These economic challenges will only be exacerbated by the addition of Finland to NATO as sanctions against Russia increase, limiting trade and investment opportunities.

Security Challenges

In recent months, Russian forces have increased their presence along Ukraine's borders and in the Black Sea region; this presents a significant security challenge for Ukraine. The addition of Finland to NATO may lead to tit-for-tat military posturing with Russia, leading to an escalation of hostilities that could ultimately threaten the peace process and stability in the region.

Political Challenges

The war between Ukraine and Russia has foisted a political crisis on the country as well. The political upheaval has seen multiple changes of power and heads of state, leaving many Ukrainians feeling disenchanted and disillusioned with their government. With Finland joining NATO, many Ukrainians may see this as a betrayal of their already fragile trust in government leaders - making it more difficult to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.


Finland's recent decision to join NATO marks a historic shift in it's foreign policy, breaking with its traditionally neutral stance. As the refugee crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to unfold, Finland's decision reflects its commitment to protecting its citizens and ensuring stability in the region. This also marks a strong message of solidarity with Ukraine, one of its closest neighbors, and sends a strong signal to the rest of Europe about the importance of collective security. By joining NATO, Finland is not only sending a message to its citizens that it is committed to their safety but also to the world that it will stand up for justice and human rights.

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