Finland Announced Application for NATO Membership
May 12, 2022 (EIRNS)—Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinistö issued a joint statement this morning endorsing Finnish membership in NATO. “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 defense 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,” concluded the statement, which appeared in English on both officials’ websites.
The leaders’ statement means that Finland is nearly certain to seek NATO membership, though a few steps remain to be taken in the parliament, before the application process can begin, reported The Associated Press. Sweden is expected to follow Finland, soon.
Asked whether this presented a threat to Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Reuters, “Definitely. NATO expansion does not make our continent more stable and secure.” TASS quoted him as saying: “Finland joined the unfriendly steps that were taken within the EU framework with regards to our country. This can only cause our regret and is a cause for our corresponding tit-for-tat responses. The expansion of NATO and the alliance’s military infrastructure approaching our borders do not make the world, and, what’s important, our Eurasian continent more stable and safe. This is unmistakable,” affirmed President Putin’s press secretary.
Dmitry Suslov, Deputy Director at the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies (CCEIS) at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, in Moscow, told TASS that he believes that such a step will aggravate the security of the Nordic countries, because, even according to Western estimates, “at this moment the level of threats to Finland and Sweden from Russia is zero.” Russia “will have to create a fortified military border with Finland,” said Suslov, a contributor to the Valdai Discussion Club. “Moscow will begin to see both Finland and Sweden as a source of military threat.”
Andrey Kortunov, general director of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) remarked: “Whereas before NATO and the European Union differed in some respects, including their memberships, now we will see far greater similarity. Consequently, coordination between NATO and the European Union will be raised to a higher level.”
Meantime, Boris Johnson flew to Stockholm and Helsinki yesterday to offer Britain’s security umbrella, including its nuclear protection, to the two would-be NATO members, pending finalization of their membership (assuming Sweden decides to request it). The other assumption, of course, being that Russia would retaliate instanter for their joining NATO. Corriere della Sera’s London correspondent wrote that the decision of Stockholm and Helsinki to accept U.K. military protection is “shattering Macron’s idea of strategic autonomy. We have two EU countries that place themselves under the military protection of an non-EU country. The move has evidently been blessed by the U.S. and coincides with the AUKUS agreement signed with Australia last year: After Brexit, London is confirming its intention of becoming a global player in security, with the result of bypassing (and marginalizing) European structures.”