Global Affairs

How Putin became Nato's recruiter of the year

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the tipping point for Finland and Sweden to seek Nato membership – a move that has implications for European security and beyond.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has persuaded Finland and Sweden to join Nato. PHOTO: REUTERS
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A doctored photo making the rounds on social media pretends to show Russian President Vladimir Putin smiling broadly as he receives from Mr Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of Nato, a prize for being "Nato's Recruiter of the Year".

A prank, of course, but one that points to one of Europe's bitter ironies. President Putin's ostensible reason for invading Ukraine was to prevent that country from joining the US-led military alliance in Europe, an organisation he regards as a fundamental threat to Russia. Yet not only has he failed to subdue Ukraine, but his invasion has persuaded Finland and Sweden - two European nations that until now have kept out of all military alliances - to join Nato. A bigger own goal for Russia can hardly be imagined.

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