Finnish leaders call for NATO membership “immediately”

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Finland’s leaders said on Thursday that they called for a speedy application for NATO membership, paving the way for a historic expansion of the alliance that could deal a serious blow to Russia while its military struggles with the war in Ukraine. Finland’s dramatic move has been announced by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin. This means that Finland is almost certain to join NATO, although there are still a few steps to go before the application process begins. Neighboring Sweden is expected to decide to join NATO in the coming days. The Kremlin reacted to developments a few hours later, saying Finland’s move to join NATO would not help stability and security in Europe. Finland has a 830-mile land border with Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s response to the move would depend on specific NATO steps to bring its infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. He noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has already ordered steps to be taken to strengthen the country’s defense in the West in response to NATO’s expansion closer to Russia’s borders. Earlier, the Kremlin warned of “military and political consequences” if Sweden and Finland make a decision. join NATO. If they apply, there will be an intermediate period from the time the application is submitted until it is ratified by all 30 parliaments of NATO member countries. “NATO membership will strengthen Finland’s security. As a NATO member, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance, ”Niinista and Marin said in a joint statement. “Finland must immediately apply for NATO membership. We hope that the national steps needed to make this decision will be taken soon within the next few days.” Sweden will sign an agreement on military cooperation. Britain pledged on Wednesday to come to the aid of Sweden and Finland if the two northern countries come under attack. During a joint press conference with Johnson and Niinistö in Helsinki, the Finnish head of state said that Moscow could only blame itself if its 5.5 million country became a member of NATO. “You (Russia) were the reason for this. Look in the mirror,” Niinista said on Wednesday. firm support for Ukraine and the country’s intention to join NATO. Niinista said Zelensky “expressed full support for this.” Expeditionary forces that are designed to respond more flexibly and more quickly than a larger NATO alliance. It uses NATO standards and doctrine, so it can act in conjunction with NATO, the United Nations or other multinational coalitions. In full, since 2018, the forces have conducted a number of exercises both independently and in cooperation with NATO. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Finland and Sweden have pondered whether to abandon their decades-old neutrality and join 30 NATO members. After Moscow launched an attack on Ukraine, public support for the two countries began to shift to NATO membership, first in Finland and later in Sweden. A recent opinion poll conducted by Finnish public broadcaster YLE earlier this week found that 76% of Finns are in favor of joining NATO, a significant change from previous years, when only 20-30% of respondents were in favor of such a military alliance. Speaking to European Union lawmakers on Thursday when Niinistö and Marin’s announcement was made, Finnish Foreign Minister Peka Haavista said that “the war started by Russia threatens the security and stability of the whole of Europe.” Haavista said that Russia’s unpredictable behavior Finland is seriously concerned, in particular, about Moscow’s readiness to carry out “high-risk operations” that could lead to many casualties, including among the Russians themselves. countries together with Sweden joined the European Union in 1995 and have the longest border with Russia of all 27 members of the bloc since World War II.Video: evacuees warn of further bloodshed in eastern Ukraine Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde tweeted that Finland’s announcement gives an “important message” and that Danish Prime Minister Mete Frederiksen said there were “strong messages” from the President and Prime Minister of Finland. During the Cold War, Finland stayed away from NATO to avoid provoking the Soviet Union, instead choosing to remain a neutral buffer between East and West, maintaining good relations with Moscow and the United States. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance would welcome Finland and Sweden – both of which have strong, modern military – with open arms and expects the accession process to be quick and smooth. NATO officials say the process of joining the northern duo could be completed “in a couple of weeks”. The most time-consuming part of the process – the ratification of the country’s protocol by 30 NATO members – could be completed in less than four months or so, which in the 1950s took West Germany, Turkey and Greece to join. when there were only 12 members who ratified their applications. “These are abnormal times,” a NATO official said this week, discussing possible applications from Finland and Sweden. The official informed journalists about the accession process on the condition that he would not be named, that there were no applications from the two countries.

Finland’s leaders said on Thursday that they were in favor of a speedy application for NATO membership, paving the way for a historic expansion of the alliance that could deal a serious blow to Russia if its military struggles with the war in Ukraine.

The dramatic move by Finland was announced by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin. This means that Finland is almost certain to join NATO, although there are still a few steps to go before the application process begins. Neighboring Sweden is expected to decide to join NATO in the coming days.

The Kremlin responded a few hours later by saying that Finland’s move to join NATO would not help stability and security in Europe. Finland has an 830-mile land border with Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s response to the move would depend on concrete steps taken by NATO to bring its infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. He noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has already ordered steps to be taken to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities in the West in response to NATO enlargement closer to Russia’s borders.

Earlier, the Kremlin warned of “military and political consequences” if Sweden and Finland decide to join NATO. If they apply, there will be an interim period from the time the application is submitted until it is ratified by all 30 NATO members.

“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a NATO member, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance, ”Niinista and Marin said in a joint statement. “Finland must immediately apply for NATO membership. We hope that the national steps needed to make this decision will be taken soon in the next few days. “

The statement came the day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Finland and Sweden to sign a military co-operation agreement.

Britain has vowed on Wednesday to come to the aid of Sweden and Finland if the two northern countries come under attack.

During a joint press conference with Johnson and Niinistö in Helsinki, the Finnish head of state said that Moscow could only blame itself if its 5.5 million country became a member of NATO.

“You (Russia) caused it. Look in the mirror, ”Niinist said meaningfully on Wednesday.

on thursday Niinist wrote on Twitter that he spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about Finland’s strong support for Ukraine and the country’s intention to join NATO. Niinista said Zelensky “expressed full support for this.”

In 2017, Sweden and Finland joined the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, which is designed to be more flexible and responsive than the larger NATO alliance. It uses NATO standards and doctrine, so it can act in conjunction with NATO, the United Nations or other multinational coalitions. In full, since 2018, the forces have conducted a number of exercises both independently and in cooperation with NATO.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Finland and Sweden have pondered whether to abandon their decades-old neutrality and join NATO’s 30-nation bloc. After Moscow launched an attack on Ukraine, public support for the two countries began to rapidly shift to NATO membership, first in Finland and later in Sweden.

A recent opinion poll conducted by Finnish public broadcaster YLE earlier this week found that 76% of Finns are in favor of joining NATO, which has changed significantly from previous years, when only 20-30% of respondents were in favor of such a military group. .

Finnish Foreign Minister Pek Haavista, speaking to European Union lawmakers on Thursday when Niinistö and Marin’s announcement was made, said that “the war launched by Russia threatens the security and stability of the whole of Europe.”

Haavista said Finland’s unpredictable behavior was a matter of serious concern to Finland, particularly Moscow’s willingness to conduct “high-risk operations” that could lead to many casualties, including among the Russians themselves.

If Finland becomes a member of NATO, it will mean the biggest changes in the northern country’s defense and security policy since World War II, when it waged two lost wars against the Soviet Union. Together with Sweden, Finland joined the European Union in 1995 and has the longest border with Russia of all 27 bloc members.

Video: Evacuees warn of further bloodshed in eastern Ukraine

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Anne Linde tweeted that Finland’s announcement was “important” and Danish Prime Minister Matte Frederiksen said there were “strong messages” from Finland’s president and prime minister.

During the Cold War, Finland stayed away from NATO so as not to provoke the Soviet Union, instead choosing to remain a neutral buffer between East and West, maintaining good relations with Moscow as well as with the United States.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the military alliance will welcome Finland and Sweden – both of which have strong modern militaries – with open arms and expects the accession process to be swift and smooth.

NATO officials say the process of joining the northern duo could be completed “within weeks”. The most time-consuming part of the process – the ratification of the country’s protocol by 30 NATO members – could be completed in less than four months or so, which in the 1950s took West Germany, Turkey and Greece to join. when there were only 12 members who ratified their applications.

“These are abnormal times,” a NATO official said this week, discussing possible applications from Finland and Sweden. The official informed journalists about the accession process, provided that his name would not be named, as no applications had been received from the two countries.

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