“Today, the President and the Foreign and Security Policy Committee decided that Finland will apply for NATO membership,” Niinistö said.
He noted that the events in Ukraine prompted Finland to make such a decision. At the same time, the president noted that such a decision “is not directed against anyone.”
Niinistö commented on the conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which took place the day before, on May 14. During it, the leader of Finland warned his colleague about the country’s intention to join NATO. “The response we saw yesterday was more subdued than expected,” Niinistö said.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin added that the government will now submit its opinion to Parliament. “Our decision is historic. The most important thing is the security of Finland and our citizens. This decision strengthens the security and cooperation of the Nordic countries,” the Prime Minister said.
Finland, Russia and NATO
14 May Finnish President Sauli Niinistö spent a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, in which he said that Finland would soon decide on applying to join NATO. Formerly Niinistö explainedthat Helsinki’s position was influenced by “Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022”, as well as Moscow’s demands to NATO from the end of 2021 not to accept new members. The Finnish leader regards this as an encroachment on the right of Finland and Sweden to determine their own security policy.
In turn, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that abandoning the traditional policy of military neutrality “would be wrong” and “could have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations.”
23 February Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin statedthat the country will apply for membership in NATO if the issue of national security becomes acute. A week later, on March 5, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö informed about the readiness of Helsinki to discuss joining the alliance, since after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, the attitude of citizens towards joining NATO has changed.
On May 12, Sauli Niinistö and Sanna Marin, in a joint statement, supported the application for the country to join the alliance on an “urgent basis”. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekko Haavisto said that Helsinki will file it at the end of the month if this intention is approved by Parliament.
Sweden also announced its intention to join NATO. how wrote Swedish newspaper Expressen, citing its sources in the government, Stockholm may apply to join the North Atlantic Alliance as early as May 16.
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