Finland should join NATO, according to the Nordic president and prime minister, a statement that would redraw the geopolitical map of Europe and push neighboring Sweden to apply to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine.
President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin both said on Thursday that Finland “must apply within a few days” to join NATO.
“Joining NATO will strengthen Finland’s security. As a NATO member, Finland will strengthen the entire defence alliance,” they said in a joint statement.
Marin’s Social Democrats will announce their decision on Saturday, and Helsinki’s five-party coalition government is expected to follow suit on Sunday.
In Sweden, the ruling Social Democrats A decision on whether to join NATO will be made on Sunday. Formal applications from both countries are expected next week.
“We hope that in the next few days the national steps needed to make this decision will be taken swiftly,” Niinistö and Marin said.
For years, even after Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, Finnish public support for joining NATO hovered between 20 and 30 percent. But recent opinion polls show that 76 percent of Finns rejoin NATO, while only 12 percent are against it.
Asked on Wednesday what his message to Russia was, Niinisto said: “My answer is: You caused it. Look in the mirror.”
NATO is expected to approve applications for Finland and Sweden quickly, but they will not become members until all 30 existing members have approved their applications, a process expected to take six to 12 months.
Both Finland and Sweden could become official invitees “weeks” before a key NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June, a NATO official said.
The official declined to speculate on how long approval might take, but added: “We’ve heard from a lot of allies that they would seek to make it a priority.”
Thanks to its 1,340-kilometer border, Finland will more than double the border between NATO and Russia.It will also bring well-trained troops and highly prepared.
The last country to join NATO, North Macedonia, has the longest joining process. The NATO official said: “We are not in an extreme security crisis in the Euro-Atlantic region as we are now. These are not normal times.”
Russia Threats”Serious military and political consequences“If Finland or Sweden joined NATO. But Finnish and Swedish officials were encouraged by a little bit of Russian shenanigans before they decided to apply to join NATO.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday sign a contract Both Sweden and Finland will provide assistance with military resources if attacked, allaying fears that these countries would become vulnerable in the NATO ratification process.