The President of Finland told Putin: we will apply to join NATO

The President of Finland told Putin: we will apply to join NATO

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Inish President Sauli Niinisto has told Vladimir Putin that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country, which shares a long border with Russia, “will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days”.

Mr Niinisto’s office said in a statement that he told the Russian president in a phone call how Finland’s security environment had changed after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, and the 30-man Western Army’s move to Finland by Moscow. Pointed to the demand to refrain from subscribing in. alliance.

“The discussions (with Putin) were direct and frank and were conducted without exaggeration. Avoiding tension was considered important,” said the Finnish president since 2012 and some of the Western leaders who have held regular talks with Mr. Putin over the past 10 years. One of them, Mr. Ninisto said.

He said he had told Mr Putin at their first meeting in 2012 that “every free nation will maximize its security”.

“It is still so. By joining NATO, Finland will strengthen its own security and fulfill its responsibility.

He stressed that Finland, despite possible NATO membership, wants to continue to deal bilaterally with Russia in “practical issues posed by the border neighbourhood” and hopes to engage with Moscow “in a professional manner”.

The phone call was conducted at the initiative of Finland, Mr Ninisto’s office said. The statement did not disclose any comment on Mr Putin or the Kremlin talks.

However, the Kremlin said Mr Putin told his Finnish counterpart that abandoning neutrality and joining NATO would be a mistake that could damage relations between their two countries.

The Kremlin said: “Vladimir Putin stressed that it would be a mistake to abandon the traditional policy of military neutrality, as there is no threat to Finland’s security.

“Such a change in the country’s foreign policy could have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations.”

Moscow described the call as a “clear exchange of views”, usually a diplomatic euphemism for a difficult conversation.

Finland shares a border of 830 miles with Russia, the longest border of any European Union member.

Mr. Niinisto and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday jointly backed the country’s NATO bid and recommended that the country work to guarantee the country’s security amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s changing geopolitical and security landscape. should “apply for NATO membership without delay”.

A formal announcement from Mr. Niinisto and Ms. Marin that Finland intends to apply for NATO membership is expected on Sunday, a day after a possible endorsement by Ms. Marin’s governing Social Democratic Party.

Neighboring Sweden is set to decide on its NATO stance at a meeting of the governing Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersen on Sunday.

US President Joe Biden held a joint call with Mr. Ninisto and Ms. Anderson on Friday, during which, according to the White House, he spoke “for NATO’s open door policy and for Finland and Sweden’s right to decide their future, abroad.” policy and security arrangements”.

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News From www.standard.co.uk

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