“We do not have any panic, we are not afraid. We are preparing for any kind of action. This is our choice, we should not limit ourselves to room for maneuver due to threats,” Tuppurainen said. She added that Russia is “a neighbor who is able to act in a ruthless manner.”
how noted Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, at the moment Finland sees no problems in the border area with Russia and hopes that this will be the case in the future. “The situation on the border is peaceful, and it should remain so in the future,” the minister told reporters before a meeting of foreign ministers of NATO member countries in Brussels.
Haavisto noted that Finland “should maintain contacts” with Russia, but Helsinki is not going to “ask permission” from Moscow to join the alliance.
Speaking about the prospects for Finland’s entry into NATO, the head of the Finnish Foreign Ministry expressed optimism, despite the fact that a day earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he still has a negative view of Finland’s entry into the alliance. “I’m sure we’ll find a solution eventually,” Haavisto said.
Tuppurainen also spoke about her optimistic view of joining NATO. “It was repeatedly said that Finland’s membership in the alliance would be welcome <…> We feel that we are welcome,” the minister said.
13 May Erdogan declaredthat “does not feel positive” about the plans of Finland and Sweden to join NATO. According to him, the Scandinavian countries “are practically a guest house for terrorist organizations,” among which the Turkish president mentioned the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front.
However, on May 14, Erdogan’s spokesman and chief foreign policy adviser, Ibrahim Kalin declaredthat Turkey will not “close the door” for Sweden and Finland to join NATO. However, Ankara wants negotiations over what the Turkish authorities consider to be terrorist activities. In particular, according to him, it is necessary to ban all types of PKK presence in these countries.
In order to join the North Atlantic Alliance, any country that has expressed such a desire must enlist the unanimous support of all NATO members.
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 reported 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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