Finland Updates: Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin have announced that the country must apply to join NATO “immediately.”The policy adjustment was revealed on Thursday, three days before Sweden is set to follow likewise in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Finland has gradually increased its cooperation with NATO as a partner since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. The two countries share a 1,300-kilometer (810-mile) border and a tumultuous history.
However, until Russia’s fullscale invasion of Ukraine in February, the Nordic country had refrained from entering to preserve amicable relations with its eastern neighbour.In a joint statement, Niinisto and Marin declared, “Finland must apply for NATO membership immediately.”
We hope that the remaining national actions necessary to make this choice are taken quickly in the coming days.”Finland “would be warmly welcomed,” according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
On Thursday, Russia warned that if Finland joined NATO, it would be forced to take “militarytechnical” measures.”NATO’s expansion and proximity to our borders does not make the globe and our continent more peaceful and secure,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, told reporters.Peskov responded, “absolutely,” when asked if Finland’s inclusion would pose a threat.
“Everything will be determined by how this process unfolds and how far the military infrastructure advances toward our borders,” he warned.Moscow will be “forced to take reciprocal steps, militarytechnical and others, to counter the threats to its national security,” according to Russia’s foreign ministry.
NATO is allegedly attempting to build “another flank for the military danger to our country,” according to the report.The foreign ministry stated that “Helsinki should be aware of its duty and the consequences of such an action.”
After Russia launched what it refers to as a “special operation” in Ukraine, Finns’ views on NATO have rapidly shifted.Over the last few months, popular support in Finland for NATO membership has reached new highs.According to a recent poll conducted by public broadcaster YLE, 76 percent of Finns support EU membership, with only 12 percent opposing it. Prior to the all-out war in Ukraine, support for EU membership hovered around 25 percent.
While military nonalignment has long satisfied many Finns as a means of avoiding confrontation, Russia’s invasion of independent Ukraine has caused a growing number of Finns to regard cordial relations with Russia as a meaningless term.
Finland has been particularly concerned about Ukraine’s fate, having fought two wars with Russia between 1939 and 1944, rejecting an attempted invasion but losing almost 10% of its territory in the peace treaty that followed.