Wide support in Finland for NATO membership, bid expected after weekend

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Finland’s ruling Social Democratic Party is in favor of NATO membership, Prime Minister and party chairman Sanna Marin has said. There is also “strong support” within the parliamentary group for joining the Western military alliance.

Party chairman Antti Lindtman announced it on Twitter. “After February 24, we must not take the slightest risk of being alone with Russia,” he said, referring to the start date of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Finland should submit its membership application at the same time as Sweden. The ruling Social Democratic Party is expected to give the green light on Sunday, after which parliament in Stockholm will debate it a day later.

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Marin already endorsed the move on Thursday. A government position will follow on Sunday, after which parliament will make a statement on Monday. With the yes of the Social Democrats, there is broad support. Niinisto informed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday of his intention to join the alliance.

Russia sees the step as a threat

Finland has long been against joining NATO, but this quickly changed due to aggression from its large neighboring country, including among the population. Finland shares a border of approximately 1,300 kilometers with Russia.

The country assumes NATO countries are already offering protection before membership is officially complete, as Russia “absolutely” views the move as a threat and has warned of military and political consequences. Russian electricity exports were halted this weekend.

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