A soldier with the Polish Military sits in a tank as a NATO flag flies behind him throughout navy workout routines in 2015 in Zagan, Poland. (Sean Gallup/Getty Photos)

Finland – which shares an 800-mile border with Russia – is one step nearer to becoming a member of NATO after the nation’s president and prime minister introduced their help for being part of the US-led navy alliance. The Kremlin stated the transfer could be a menace to Russia.

This is what it’s good to learn about NATO and the way it works:

NATO is a European and North American protection alliance that was created because the Chilly Struggle escalated and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The intention of the alliance was to guard Western European nations from the menace posed by the Soviet Union and to counter the unfold of Communism after World Struggle II.

Bear in mind: An armed assault towards a number of of them in Europe or North America shall be thought-about an assault towards all of them. Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty ensures that the assets of the entire alliance can be utilized to guard any single member nation. That is essential for lots of the smaller nations who could be defenseless with out its allies. Iceland, for instance, has no standing military. For the reason that US is the biggest and strongest NATO member, any state within the alliance is successfully underneath US safety.

The alliance began with 12 founding nations, however over the many years since, the alliance has grown to incorporate a complete of 30 members.

In alphabetical order, they’re: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.

Ukraine isn’t a member of NATO, however has lengthy hoped to hitch the alliance. This can be a sore level for Russia, which sees NATO as a menace and vehemently opposes the transfer.

Amid ongoing tensions with the West, Russia has requested for iron-clad ensures that the alliance will not develop additional east — significantly into Ukraine.

However the US and NATO have resisted these calls for. The alliance has all the time had an “open door coverage,” which states that any European nation prepared and keen to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership is welcome to use for membership. Any choices on enlargement of the alliance have to be agreed unanimously.

Following the top of the Chilly Struggle, NATO made it clear it might welcome growth to the east and in 1997, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland had been invited to start accession talks.

Since then, greater than a dozen nations from the previous Jap bloc, together with three former Soviet republics, joined the alliance.

Learn the full explainer on NATO right here and see a map of its present members under: