Ukraine War: Finland to decide on NATO membership in weeks – Prime Minister Marin

The Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin has stated that her country will decide whether to apply to join Nato “within weeks”.

Finland and Sweden are not aligned with any militarily alliance but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted increasing public support in both countries to become members of the Western defensive alliance called NATO.

Finland shares a 1,340km (830 miles) border with Russia, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated that Moscow would have to “rebalance the situation” with its own measures if the Nato bid went ahead.

Ukraine War: Finland to decide on NATO membership in weeks - Prime Minister Marin

Speaking alongside Sweden’s prime minister on Wednesday, April 14, Marin said she saw no reason to delay the decision to join NATO.

Her comments coincided with a report to the Finnish parliament that said membership of the bloc could result in “increased tensions on the border between Finland and Russia”.

The report warns that “military force might be used solely against Finland,” and that the security situation in Europe and Finland is more serious and more difficult to predict than at any time since the Cold War.

The report also also noted that were Finland to join the bloc, it would be forced to spend up to 1.5% more of its budget on defence, but added that membership of the alliance would offer the country a greater capacity to defend itself. Finland has already announced a 40% increase in its defence budget by 2026.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters that the same “very serious analysis” was taking place in her country just like in Finland and she saw no point in delaying it.

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported on Wednesday that Ms Andersson was aiming to apply for membership in time for a Nato summit in late June.

“I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions, but I think it will happen quite fast,” said Ms Marin. She pointed out that Nato membership offered Finland the security guarantee of Article Five, whereby an attack on one member is viewed as an attack on all.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto also said Russia’s war had changed the security environment in Europe and forced the review of Finnish defence policy.

Finland has maintained a policy of military neutrality designed to avoid confrontation with Russia since Nato was formed in 1949. In 1939, Finland fought off an invasion from the Soviet Union in what became known as the Winter War, but ended up ceding its eastern province of Karelia to Russia.

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