Finland (and Sweden) joins NATO
HELSINKI – Finland must apply to join the NATO military alliance “without delay”, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday, a major policy shift triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Finland, which shares an 810-mile border and a difficult past with Russia, has gradually stepped up its cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as a partner since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
But until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Nordic country had refrained from joining in order to maintain friendly relations with its eastern neighbour.
“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” Niinisto and Marin said in a joint statement.
“We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”
NATO allies expect Finland and Sweden to apply to join the alliance in the coming days and will grant membership quickly, five diplomats and officials told Reuters ahead of the Finnish announcement.
Finland must apply for NATO membership, leaders say (nypost.com)
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