Finland has confirmed that it will apply to join NATO despite warnings from Russia’s president that it would be a “mistake” to do so.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said joining the military alliance would “maximize” the security of his country following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A formal membership application is expected to be submitted to NATO Headquarters in Brussels next week.
“This is a historic day. A new era is beginning,” Mr Niinisto said.
He added that the move gives him “peace of mind” and membership “of enormous importance” to the country.
“In the future, I have described that the Finnish-Russian relationship will change and I am sure that Russians will think in a similar way, but, as I said, there are daily questions where you need to be able to to work together, “said President.
Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, was previously a neutral country.
Yesterday, Mr. Niinisto told Vladimir Putin about his intentions, causing a Russian president’s warning that abandoning neutrality would be a “mistake”.
In response, the Finnish leader told Mr Putin that the invasion of Ukraine had changed the country’s security environment.
Other important developments:
• Ukraine wins Eurovision Song Contest in an enormous show of support from the rest of the continent
• G7 nations promise more military and economic aid to Ukraine
• Russia has ‘likely’ lost ‘one third’ of ground troops since invasion, says UK
• Russia’s military progress appears to be faltering, says a senior NATO official
• ‘Four enemy missiles’ hit Ukrainian military infrastructure, according to a local governor
Finland’s bid for NATO membership is expected to be followed by a similar move by Sweden.
Following the announcement, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that requests from both countries were “very important” and “would strengthen the entire Nordic region”.
An expansion of the military alliance of 30 countries would be a blow to Mr Putin, who undertook the war in what he said was a bid to serve his eastern progress.
Countries within the alliance are obliged to defend each other if one of them is attacked.
The announcement came when a meeting of NATO foreign ministers took place in Berlin, where the Ukraine war and the expansion of the alliance were discussed.
Kremlin says Finland’s NATO application ‘would definitely be a threat to Russia and bring’ symmetrical responses’
Zelenskyy describes Russia as “insane” because they are still trying to seize victory
Will the United Kingdom support Finland’s request?
Speaking at the meeting, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said “there was strong support” for a “more global NATO”.
“At NATO this weekend, we agreed that we must continue to help Ukraine conquer and express Russia. Putin must have a continuing defeat in Ukraine, Russia must be contained and such aggression must never happen again,” he said. sei se ta.
“NATO’s open-door policy is essential and if Finland and Sweden decide to apply to join, it is clear that they will strengthen the alliance and European security as a whole.”
Earlier, Ms Truss said the UK “strongly supports” Finland and Sweden in applying to join.
Former British Army Officer Ed Arnold told Sky News that if both countries joined NATO, it would be a “very important moment”, especially in terms of how European security is set up.
He added that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had already signed joint declarations to ensure that they were “safe in terms of application to NATO and the ratification process, which will take several months”.
What do other NATO members think?
On Saturday, Turkey objected to the possible requests from the two Nordic countries, saying they both “openly support and engage” with the banned Kurdish militant group PKK and “terrorist organization” YPG.
However, NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said he was “confident” that the alliance would address Turkey’s concerns and welcomed all countries to “find conditions for consensus to be met”.
“Finland and Sweden are already NATO’s closest partners,” he said, adding that he expected allies to view their requests positively.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said her country and others had made it clear they were ready to speed up the national ratification process for Finland and Sweden.
“If these two countries decide to join, they can join very quickly,” she said.
Meanwhile, Denmark has rejected suggestions that Mr Putin’s objections to Finland’s joining the alliance prevent it from accepting new members.
“Every European country has a fundamental right to choose its own security arrangements,” he said.
He added that NATO would also stand with other countries, such as Georgia, which he said were being “instrumentalized” by Russia.
Ukraine’s war: Finland confirms application to join NATO to maximize national security | World news
Source link Ukraine’s war: Finland confirms application to join NATO to maximize national security | World news