Finland should apply for NATO membership “without delay”, its leaders say

Leaders of Finland On Thursday, they announced their intention for the country to join NATO “Without delay”, a step that will strengthen the strength of the Western military alliance Russia’s invasion of Ukraine և redraw the security map of Europe.

The Scandinavian country, which shares an 810-mile border with Russia, is expected to get a quick connection to join the bloc, while neighboring Sweden looks set to back down on its own bid in the coming days.

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin issued a joint statement early Thursday morning supporting the country’s bid to join NATO.

“NATO membership will strengthen Finland ‘s security. “As a NATO member, Finland will strengthen its entire defense alliance,” he said.

“Finland must apply for NATO membership immediately. We hope that in the next few days the necessary national steps to make this decision will be taken quickly. “

Finland has traditionally been militarily neutral, with good relations with Moscow, but the war in Ukraine has forced the country to reconsider its security and self-determination.

This step is a sign of European unity, of countering the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Western countries are acting to counteract the fears that the Kremlin wants. to restore Russian power over its neighbors Beyond Ukraine.

The end is coming The long-standing desire to join NATO The withdrawal of Western troops from the region was key to Putin’s pre-war demands, but Finland’s accession would double Russia’s border with the Transatlantic Alliance.

Asked on Wednesday whether Finland would provoke Russia into joining NATO, Niinisto said Putin was to blame. “My answer will be that you caused it. “Look in the mirror,” he said.

During the meeting with the President of Finland Sauli Niinisto with Vladimir Putin in 2021 Mikhail Klimentև / AP file

If Finland becomes a full member of NATO, it will be bound by Article 5, according to which all members, including the United States, stand up for any other member attacked.

Sweden is also expected to announce its intention to join the bloc in the coming days, driven by the zeal and speed of its Finnish neighbors.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned of “serious military-political consequences” if either country joined the 30-nation alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has previously said that it would be possible to allow Finland to join Sweden “fairly quickly”. The member states are likely to consider Finland’s application at a summit in Madrid on 28 June.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told EU lawmakers on Thursday that the country would make a significant contribution to regional security.

“If Finland decides to apply, Finland’s accession will strengthen the security and stability of the Baltic Sea region of northern Europe,” he said in a video.

“We are convinced that Finland will bring additional value to NATO. “During the war, the strength of our defense forces is 280,000 soldiers, and the prepared reserve is 900,000 men and women.”

Finland will not be formally covered by Article 5 during its application process, but NATO members are expected to offer security guarantees in the event of any repercussions from Moscow.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that he had agreed to sign new deals with both Sweden and Finland to strengthen European security, vowing to support the two countries’ armed forces in the event of an attack.

NATO, formally the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was founded in 1949 as a means of responding to the growing power and influence of the Soviet Union for Western powers.

While Norway was a founding member, Finland has so far been reluctant to join the bloc. However, Finland intensified its cooperation with NATO after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

With a modern, well-equipped military force that is compatible with NATO’s standards of operation, as well as with its advanced military intelligence network, analysts see Finland as a natural fit, both ideologically and practically.

Public opinion in Finland has plummeted towards membership in recent weeks, with 76 per cent in favor and 12 per cent against, according to a recent YLE poll. Prior to the Ukraine war, support for joining the polls was usually around 25 percent.

Finland waged two wars against Russia in 1939-1944 to thwart an invasion attempt, but lost 10 percent of its territory.


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