Finland's President: NATO membership is not directed “against anyone”

The President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto

© APA | The President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto

# 12 May 2022 16:15 (UTC +04:00)

Finland's President said that his country’s entry into the pact was aimed at maximizing the country’s security in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If the admission is approved, Finland will break its historical status of neutrality. On the other hand, the latest polls suggest that 68% of Finns support NATO membership, APA reports.

The President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, underlined several times this Wednesday in Helsinki, alongside the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, that Finland’s possible NATO membership is not directed “against anyone referring to Moscow, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“If we want to maximize our security, that means maximizing the defense of our country,” Niinisto explained at a press conference, adding that “no one can be offended if someone (a country) wants to defend themselves,” as reported by the newspaper ‘Ilta Sanomat.’

So, the Finnish president pointed out at a press conference that Russia decided to try to take decision-making power from Finland for its own defense. demanding that the Atlantic Alliance not extend further east.

“If we decide to join (NATO), a possible answer could be that you caused this. Look in the mirror (Putin) “, said Niinisto before this possibility, which could break its historical status of neutrality.

Both Finland and Sweden considered the possibility of abandoning this long-term status and joining the Atlantic Alliance in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In reality, Niinisto is expected to make a statement throughout the day this Thursday on his possible accession.

For his part, Johnson stressed “the UK’s strong support” for Finland’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about its future. “without fear or influence” in a clear allusion to Russia’s complaints about the possibility that it could enter NATO, thus breaking its historical status of neutrality.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday ratified two bilateral security agreements with the Swedish and Finnish governments, which provide for the dispatch of their troops in the event of a hypothetical Russian invasion.

Latest polls suggest 68% of Finns support NATO membership, more than double what it was before the invasion of Ukraine, and only 12% oppose it. In Sweden, it is tighter, but there is also majority support for joining NATO.

If the accession of Sweden and Finland is successful, the 30 member countries of NATO must ratify the accession of the two European nations, which may still last for a long period ranging from four months to a year, even if it is estimated that it would be resolved as soon as possible.

Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO could be completed before the end of the year or the beginning of 2023 after a negotiation process of only a few days, given the proximity of the two Scandinavian countries to the Atlantic Alliance, assured a NATO spokesman consulted by Europa Press.

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