Putin wanted less NATO and is getting more of it instead, commentators note, mentioning that one of the pretexts used by Kremlin to invade Ukraine on February 24 was that the pro-Western regime in Kyiv wanted the country to join the North-Atlantic Alliance. The consequence, however, is that NATO is about to expand to the Scandinavian Peninsula.
As far back as last year, when few believed Putin will actually attack, Finland and Sweden firmly rejected any Russian interference with their sovereign decisions regarding a prospective NATO accession.
Sweden has not been involved in a war for centuries, and it was quite attached to its profile as an entirely peaceful international player. Occupied by the Tsarist Empire until 1917 and at war with the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1944, post-war Finland preserved a strictly neutral stance, and its politicians avoided any statement or action that could have been construed as anti-Soviet. The country joined the European Union in 1995, but stayed away from NATO.
According to analysts, it is precisely such "Finlandization" of Ukraine that the Russian president was seeking. But the invasion of Ukraine was exactly what pushed the public opinion and political leaders of the two Scandinavian countries out of neutrality and prompted them to apply for NATO accession.
Although on summer recess, the Parliament of Romania Wednesday convened in a special sitting and ratified Sweden's and Finland's accession with overwhelming majority, making Romania one of the first Allies to do this.
All parliamentary parties voted in favour, with floor group leaders emphasising that it is a proof of European solidarity and a necessary step given the current security context, severely affected by the war in Ukraine.
The 30 NATO member states initiated the accession ratification on July 5 in Brussels. The Alliance's secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at that point that this was truly a historic moment, and a 32-member NATO will be even stronger.
Turkey is the only member country that made Finland's and Sweden's accession conditional on their governments' commitments with respect to fighting Kurdish terrorism.
The protocol signed in Brussels enables Finland and Sweden to take part in NATO meetings and to access classified information, but does not provide military protection under the famous Article 5 of the organisation's Charter, which says that an attack against one member state is an attack against all. Article 5 will take effect only after all member states have ratified the document, a process which according to experts may take up to one year.
Twenty-one of NATO's 30 members are also affiliated to the European Union. After Finland's and Sweden's accession, only Austria, Cyprus, Ireland and Malta will remain outside the Alliance. (AMP)