President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated Finland on joining NATO on April 4, adding that the alliance has become "the only effective security guarantee in the region" amid Russia's all-out war against Ukraine.
"We expect that the NATO Summit in Vilnius will bring Ukraine closer to our Euro-Atlantic goal," Zelensky said, referring to the next alliance's meeting scheduled to take place in the Lithuanian capital on July 11-12.
Finland has officially become the 31st member of the North Atlantic Alliance during the April 4 formal ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels, doubling the alliance's land border with Russia.
Finland submitted its application in May 2022 to join NATO after years of military neutrality. "The era of military non-alignment in our history has come to an end. A new era begins," the Finnish presidency said following the accession, as cited by CNN.
Ukraine applied for a fast-track NATO accession on Sept. 30 after Russia claimed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions. However, until Moscow's war against Ukraine ends, the country's prospects of NATO membership seem to remain low.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the Kyiv Independent on April 3 that "NATO's position remains unchanged and that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance," but "the first step toward any membership… is to ensure that Ukraine prevails."