NATO allies: Finland to join alliance without delay – statement in full

Finland and Sweden joining NATO a 'good thing' says Jardine

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Finland announced its intention to become a member of NATO in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine this morning. The previously militarily neutral country has said it “must apply for NATO membership without delay”.

The statement in full reads: “During this spring, an important discussion on Finland’s possible NATO membership has taken place.

“Time has been needed to let Parliament and the whole society establish their stands on the matter.

“Time has been needed for close international contacts with NATO and its member countries, as well as with Sweden. We have wanted to give the discussion the space it required.

“Now that the moment of decision-making is near, we state our equal views, also for information to the parliamentary groups and parties.

“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security.

“As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance.

“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay.

“We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

The decision comes after Boris Johnson agreed a pact with Finland and Sweden to defend them with troops if they come under attack.

The announcement marks a huge shift for Finland, which shares an 810 mile border and a complicated history with its neighbour Russia.

It comes in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, and fears the Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin could attack other border sharing countries.

A few steps remain before the full application process can begin, but Finland has wide ranging support from other NATO members.

Sweden is also expected to announce its decision to join the security alliance in the coming days, most likely over the weekend.

In the wider Nordic region, Norway, Denmark and the three Baltic states are already NATO members.

The move by Finland is expected to anger President Putin, who used the pretext of Ukraine’s desire to join the alliance to invade in February.

Moscow has maintained for years that enlargement of the organisation is a direct threat to its own security.

Moscow has also repeatedly warned Finland and Sweden against joining the alliance, threatening “serious military and political consequences”.

Asked on Wednesday if Finland would provoke Russia by joining NATO, President Sauli Niinisto said Putin would be to blame.

He said: “My response would be that you caused this. Look at the mirror.”

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