- A Finnish brewery just released a NATO-themed beer to mark the country's moves to join the alliance.
- The brewery's CEO told the AP that the beer has "a taste of security, with a hint of freedom."
- Russia's war in Ukraine prompted Finland and Sweden to apply to join NATO.
A brewery in Finland has released a NATO-themed beer in celebration of the Scandinavian country's move to join the alliance, the Associated Press reported.
The beer, brewed by Olaf Brewing Company, is called the OTAN lager. The name plays off of a Finnish expression for "I'll have a beer" and the French abbreviation for NATO ("OTAN"), the AP said.
CEO Petteri Vanttinen told the AP that the beer has "a taste of security, with a hint of freedom," and that he was inspired to brew it by "worries over the war in Ukraine."
The beer's can depicts a medieval night holding a beer and wearing armor that features the NATO symbol.
Finland and its next-door neighbor Sweden formally applied for NATO membership on Wednesday, marking a historic break from decades of neutrality. The leaders of both Nordic countries have said that Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine prompted their rapid, dramatic shift toward joining the 73-year-old alliance.
President Joe Biden endorsed Finland and Sweden's NATO bids at the White House on Thursday as he hosted Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
"In the face of aggression, NATO has not grown weaker or more divided. It has grown stronger, more united," Biden said from the Rose Garden alongside the two leaders, adding, "With Finland and Sweden's decision to request membership in NATO, it'll be enhanced for all time."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has railed against NATO expansion for years, and in the lead-up to the war, he demanded that the West agree to ban Ukraine from ever joining the alliance. But NATO remained adamant that its open-door policy was non-negotiable. Instead of weakening NATO and preventing further expansion, Putin's war in Ukraine is poised to see the alliance bolster its ranks. The impending additions of Finland, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, and neighboring Sweden to NATO is one of the many ways in which the conflict has backfired on the Kremlin.
NATO enlargement requires unanimous agreement from all current members. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed opposition to Finland and Sweden joining, but he has also hinted that he wants concessions on certain issues in order to offer his support.
Finland's president addressed Turkey's concerns in remarks at the White House on Thursday. "Finland has always had proud and good bilateral relations to Turkey," Niinistö said. "As NATO allies, we will commit to Turkey's security, just as Turkey will commit to our security."
"We are open to discussing all the concerns Turkey may have concerning our membership in an open and constructive manner," the Finnish leader went on to say.
National security advisor Jake Sullivan on Wednesday told reporters that the White House is "confident that at the end of the day, Finland and Sweden will have an effective and efficient accession process." Sullivan said that Turkey's "concerns can be addressed."
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday also expressed confidence Finland and Sweden would be welcomed into the alliance, despite Turkey's objections. "We are in close contact with Finland, Sweden and Turkey. We are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed," Stoltenberg told reporters during a visit to Copenhagen, per Reuters.