Finland will likely apply to join NATO, European Affairs Minister Titi Tupurainen told CNN. She said a decision had not yet been made, but membership would be a “very natural response” to the war in Ukraine.
Tupurainen also expects that if Helsinki applies, the application will be accepted and the membership ratified “as soon as possible.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also hinted at such a possibility.
The war in Ukraine overturned military-neutral positions in Sweden and Finland. In Stockholm, the ruling party will decide on Sunday and, as it is expected to be “yes”, secure a significant parliamentary majority with it.
In Finland, President Sauli Ninisto will announce his position on Thursday. In parliament, a majority is secured – more than 120 out of 200 deputies, according to various polls.
Russia warns that it will not leave the membership of Finland and Sweden (in the first country that would pass the longest land border Russia – NATO) without consequences.
“Of course, we would prefer good neighborliness based on friendship and cooperation. But it was Russia that distanced itself from the security order, Russia was the one that started the war in Europe. Russia was the one that invaded Ukraine. Now people understand this new reality and the time has come for us to join NATO. ”
– Titi Tupurainen, Minister for European Affairs of Finland
The minister’s remarks coincided with the publication of a survey showing that more than three-quarters of Finns support the country’s NATO membership – more than those who supported EU accession in a referendum in the 1990s.
According to a poll released by public broadcaster YLE, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents support the measure. In March, the country, which has traditionally maintained neutrality (supported by citizens), was already at about 60 percent a week after Russia invaded Ukraine. The share of supporters was 20-30% before the war.
For comparison – “against” are 12 percent (over a quarter in March), did not decide 11 percent. On March, one-fifth are uncertain.
Among those polled are supporters of all political forces in Finland, the survey also shows.
“The train has not just set off, we are on TGV to NATO headquarters in Brussels,” former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb wrote on Twitter, referring to high-speed passenger trains crossing France (which could also reach the Belgian capital).
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