Finland’s leaders confirm intention to apply for NATO membership

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin have announced that the country will apply to join NATO.

The decision was made at a press conference in Helsinki on Sunday, three days after the leaders indicated in a statement that Finland must seek for NATO membership as soon as possible.

“This is a momentous day,” Niinisto stated. He also stated that Finland’s security will be “maximized” as a member of the alliance.

Marin thanked NATO members and other nations for their support of Finland’s decision.

Finland and Russia are separated by about 1,300 kilometers. It has maintained its military neutrality.

The Finnish government released the draft of a report on NATO accession on Sunday. The report says, “Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a fundamental change has taken place in the security and operating environment of Finland and Europe.”

The parliament will start discussions based on the report on Monday. A majority of lawmakers appear certain to approve the application.

Marin voiced her belief that the parliament will discuss the government’s “historic” decision in a responsible manner.

She stressed that Finland hopes to apply with neighboring Sweden, which is also expected to decide on filing for NATO membership in the near future.

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