the president of FinlandSauli Niinistö, and the Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, today made a historic decision: break eight decades of non-alignment and express their position in favor of their country’s entry into the NATO military alliance (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Sweden could also follow in their footsteps.
“Finland must apply to join NATO without delay. We hope that the national efforts that are still needed to make this decision will be taken quickly in the coming days,” the leaders of the Nordic country said in a joint statement.
In the note, Niinistö and Marin remarked that, with this union, Finland could strengthen his security, while his country could, at the same time, help strengthen the Western alliance.
Yesterday, the Finnish president had declared that his country and Sweden had remained neutral for a long time by choice, but since that neutrality was now demanded by Russia, this was a “radical change”.
After Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, something unprecedented was seen in Finland: the majority of the population came to view the entry of their country into NATO as favorable (alliance of which the Scandinavian country is a partner, but not a member). Currently, between 73 and 76% of Finns are in favor, against 12% who are against, according to the latest polls.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of Norway welcomed the Finns’ statements and guaranteed their entry. “Yes Finland decided to apply, they would be warmly welcomed into NATO and the accession process would be smooth and fast,” he said.
The Russian response
The statement of Finland, totally unthinkable a few months ago, represents a setback for Russia. If the entry into NATO materializes, the military alliance would reach its borders, one of the reasons why it launched the military offensive against Ukraine. Today, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, assured that “without a doubt” it is a threat.
“NATO is moving towards our side. Therefore, all this will be elements for special analysis and to develop the necessary measures in order to balance the situation and guarantee our security,” the Russian official said.
Russia and Finland share a long border
Asked what Moscow’s response might be, he said: “Everything will depend on how the further enlargement (of NATO) manifests itself, on how much it brings the military infrastructure closer to our borders.” Finland The US and Russia share 1,340 kilometers of land border and the direct distance between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg is only 300 kilometers.