Finland President reports Putin had ‘calm’ response to NATO membership news.
Russia’s saber-rattling over Finland‘s potential move to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization didn’t go over as well as it had hoped.
The country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, has officially announced Finland will apply for membership in the NATO military alliance. This move came hours before Sweden’s governing party backed a plan to join the trans-Atlantic alliance due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Sunday’s announcement comes after Niinisto and Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, said on Thursday they both favoured membership in NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), giving a green light for the country to apply.
“Today, we, the president and the government’s foreign policy committee, have together decided that Finland … will apply for NATO membership,” Niinisto told reporters in the presidential palace in Helsinki.
Niinisto called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to tell him of Finland’s plans to join the alliance. Putin said such a move would hurt Russian-Finnish relations.
“I, or Finland, are not known to sneak around and quietly disappear behind a corner. It is better to say it straight what already has been said, also to the concerned party and that is what I wanted to do,” he said on Sunday about his call.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson indicates that the move is being made because a policy of alignment with NATO is better for Sweden.
“Non-alignment has served us well, but our conclusion is that it will not serve us as well in the future,” she said.
Supporters of joining the alliance will now command a broad majority in Sweden’s Riksdag with much of the opposition already in favour, and a formal application by Andersson’s minority government will follow.
Swedish officials expressed concerns about nuclear weapon deployment and bases, which will likely play a role in upcoming discussions with the treaty organization.
The party said Sunday that if Sweden’s application were approved, it would work to express “unilateral reservations against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory.”
…A security policy review by the parties in Sweden’s parliament presented on Friday concluded that Swedish NATO membership would reduce the risk of conflict in northern Europe.
The report stopped short of offering a concrete recommendation on whether to join, but noted that it was “not realistic to develop bilateral defence alliances outside existing European and Euro-Atlantic structures.”
It also noted that “within the framework of current cooperation, there is no guarantee that Sweden would be helped if it were the target of a serious threat or attack.”
It appears that the two new memberships will get approved quickly.
On Tuesday, Mr. Niinisto is scheduled to begin a two-day state visit to Sweden. There is a widespread assumption that the two countries will submit their applications “hand in hand,” which may occur during that visit, assuming that both parliaments vote to go ahead.
NATO has said that it expects to approve both applications quickly, because it already works closely with Sweden and Finland. Then the governments of all 30 current members must ratify the applications.
Niinisto claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin responded “calmly” when informed of the NATO plans.DONATE
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