Home World Finland ‘highly likely’ to apply to NATO after Russia’s ‘consequences’ warning

Finland ‘highly likely’ to apply to NATO after Russia’s ‘consequences’ warning

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Finland is highly likely to apply for the membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a Finnish cabinet minister told news agency AFP on Friday. The move comes hours after Russia warned of unspecified ‘consequences if both Finland and Sweden joined the military alliance. 

“At this point I can say that it is highly likely, but the decision is not yet made,” European Affairs Minister Tytti Tuppurainen said.  “The people of Finland, they seem to have already made up their mind and there is a huge majority for the NATO membership,” she told Britain’s Sky News.

Earlier in the day, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the possible accession of Sweden and Findland to NATO threatened negative consequences for stability in northern Europe.

“It’s no secret that the territories of these countries have long been mastered by NATO, large-scale military exercises were held. Why the alliance needs this is understandable. The goal is to continue building up military potential and geographic expansion, to create another flank for threats to Russia,” Zakharova said in a statement.

Finland shares a 1,300 kilometre border with Russia. In 1917, the country had gained independence from 150 years of Russian rule. During the Second World War, its outnumbered army had fought off a Soviet invasion before a peace deal witnessed it cede several border areas to Moscow.

During the Cold War era, Finland remained neutral in exchange for guarantees from Russia that it would not be invaded. 

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has turned the public opinion in favour of a NATO alliance. The most recent poll, by private Finnish broadcaster MTV, showed 68% of Finns in favour and only 12% against NATO membership.

Any membership bid must be accepted by all 30 NATO states, a process that could take four months to a year.

(With AFP inputs)




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