Finland Will Seek NATO Membership “Without Delay” As Russia Warns Of ‘Threat’ To National Security
In a final significant step just after the nation’s defense committee on Tuesday gave its formal recommendation in the affirmative, Finland’s president and prime minister have also now come out urging application for NATO membership “without delay”.
Sauli Niinisto and Sanna Marin said Thursday that a decision is likely during the next few days. “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” they said in a joint statement. “We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”
— TPKanslia (@TPKanslia) May 12, 2022
A Thursday Pentagon spokesman statement was quick to welcome the imminent move, saying it would “not be difficult to integrate Finland into the NATO alliance” from a defense point of view, as cited by MSNBC.
At the same time NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg vowed that the membership process would be “smooth and swift” for Finland. “This is a sovereign decision by Finland, which NATO fully respects,” Stoltenberg said, emphasizing that the Scandinavian country which shares an 810-mile long border with Russia would be “warmly welcomed into NATO”.
Prior statements have indicated that Brussels would move to receive both Finland and Sweden – who have over the last month coordinated their intent to join the military alliance – “quite quickly” as Russia’s invasion and military occupation of Ukraine has continued to unfold.
Finland’s defense chiefs earlier this week had called eventual membership in NATO the “best option” for guaranteeing its national security, a significant U-turn given the till now stance of neutrality on the question, and amicable relations with its Russian neighbor.
I spoke with President @ZelenskyyUa and reiterated Finland’s firm support for Ukraine. I informed him of Finland’s steps towards NATO membership and he expressed his full support for it. pic.twitter.com/AubTdsDq9I
— Sauli Niinistö (@niinisto) May 12, 2022
Meanwhile the Kremlin has reacted to Finland’s leaders giving their approval, saying it definitely represents a threat to Russia and that it would take appropriate security measures. “The expansion of NATO and the approach of the military infrastructure of the alliance to our borders does not make the world, and most importantly our Eurasian continent, more stable and secure. This is unequivocal,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying in TASS.
“Everything will depend on how this expansion process plays out, the extent to which military infrastructure moves closer to our borders,” he added.
Public opinion in support of NATO in Finland is overwhelming
A new poll shows 76% of Finns want NATO membership compared to 12% against. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has catalyzed an enduring sea change in Finnish public opinion
— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) May 12, 2022
“NATO is moving toward us. That’s of course why all of this will warrant a special analysis and the development of necessary measures needed to balance the situation and guarantee our security,” he continued.
Thu, 05/12/2022 – 11:05
Source: Zero Hedge News
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