Finland wants to join NATO: the president and the prime minister are in favor of it. Russia responds. The ticker.
- Hurry to NATO: Finland is dragged into NATO because of the Ukrainian conflict.
- Russia announces countermeasures: Finland’s possible NATO membership is seen as a threat.
- Finland offers the prospect of early NATO membershipyou: Stoltenberg speaks of a “smooth and fast” membership.
- This News ticker on Finland’s planned entry into NATO is continuously updated.
+++ 9:52 p.m.: According to the AFP news agency, Finnish President Niinistö commented on Moscow’s criticism of their plans to join NATO: “You caused it. Look in the mirror.” Later it was more lenient and encouraged further cross-border cooperation in “practical matters”.In neighboring Sweden, the decision on possible NATO membership is to be announced on Sunday May 15. There too, as in Finland, the Ukraine had led to a fundamental shift in public opinion towards earlier military neutrality.
Russia: Finland joining NATO “clear” threat – “military-technical” response
+++ 5.40 p.m.: Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) assures Finland “the full support of the federal government” on its way to joining NATO. In a phone call with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Scholz welcomed the country’s declaration of immediate membership in the Western defense alliance, federal government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said. One of the topics discussed in the conversation was the security situation in Europe following the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
In response to the war, Finland’s political leaders demand that the country join NATO as soon as possible. In a joint statement on Thursday, Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna MarinMarin came out clearly in favor of joining the Western military alliance. For Finland, which had not concluded an alliance of this kind for a long time, the step would be historic. Membership would double NATO’s border with Russia in one fell swoop.
Finland wants to join NATO: Russia announces countermeasures
+++ 3 p.m.: Russia sees Finland’s possible NATO membership as a threat. “Further NATO enlargement will not make our continent more stable and secure,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency. According to Peskov, Russia will analyze the consequences of Finland’s NATO membership with a view to its own security. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has already instructed to bolster security on Russia’s western flank in preparation for NATO activities. “NATO is moving in our direction,” Peskow said.
Peskov also accused Finland of taking hostile action against Russia within the EU. Moscow will also react to this. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow complained of a “radical change in foreign policy” in Helsinki. If the neighbor joins NATO, Russian-Finnish relations will be seriously damaged. “Russia will be compelled to respond appropriately – in military-technical and other terms – to account for threats to its national security,” the ministry said in a statement.
NATO promises quick Finland membership
+++ 12:30 p.m.: As the country’s political leaders announced today, Finland intends to apply for NATO membership “immediately” (see initial notification). Membership of NATO could then take place very quickly. “The accession process would go smoothly and quickly,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. Finland is one of NATO’s closest partners, a mature democracy, a member of the EU and a key factor in Euro-Atlantic security. “They would be warmly welcomed into NATO,” Stoltenberg said.
“I agree with President Niinistö and Prime Minister Marin that NATO membership would strengthen both NATO’s security and that of Finland,” Stoltenberg said. Finland’s membership would also show that the door to NATO is open and that Finland decides its future. Stoltenberg was obviously alluding to the fact that Russia has repeatedly tried to prevent countries from joining NATO through threats.
Pressed towards NATO: Finland attracted by Brussels
First report of Thursday, May 12: Helsinki – The war in Ukraine has changed a lot. For example, the debate in Finland and Sweden over joining NATO. It is now a foregone conclusion that the two northern European countries will join the military alliance.
Today, Finland has taken the first step. President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin have come out in favor of their country joining NATO, which shares a border with Russia that is more than 1,300 kilometers long. In a joint statement on Thursday, the two endorsed joining the Western military alliance. “Finland should immediately apply for NATO membership,” the statement said.
It is now expected that Finland will decide to apply for membership in the next few days. Ultimately, the decision to join NATO is made jointly by the president and the government. Denmark has already welcomed the position of Finnish political leaders in favor of early NATO membership. “Denmark will of course warmly welcome Finland to NATO,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen wrote on Twitter. Finland’s membership would strengthen NATO and common security.
Finland on its way to NATO: joining in May?
Niinistö and Marin recently traveled to many NATO countries to discuss, among other things, security guarantees in a possible transition period between candidacy and admission. The United States, Germany and other NATO members have expressly stated that they want to support the candidacies of the former partner states, Finland and Sweden, provided that the two Nordic countries decide to do so.
Applications from both countries will be approved with certainty. The date is still open. A possible date is the NATO summit scheduled for Madrid at the end of June. But it can also be before. “We will not wait for the Madrid summit if possible earlier,” said a NATO representative. During the year-long ratification process, the allies would provide an increased military presence in the region, conduct more military exercises and maritime patrols in the Baltic Sea, and could send US and British forces to Finland and Sweden, did he declare.
To date, Finland and Sweden have been close NATO partners. Joining the two states would massively alter the balance of power in the region. Russia has therefore announced “serious consequences” if it joins NATO. (cs/dpa)