Finland Officially Declares Its Intention to Join NATO

Finnish President has stated that: NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” and that Finland should apply without delay; however, the Kremlin is furious and may cut off gas to Finland.

Image Credit: Wilfried Pohnke

Finland's decision to join NATO came only a day after Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, visited Finland and Sweden in order to sign a military cooperation agreement.

The military agreement means that the U.K. would support Sweden and Finland if either Nordic nations came under attack.

During a joint news conference with Johnson and Niinisto in Helsinki,

The Finnish president proclaimed that the Kremlin was the one to blame for his nation becoming a full NATO member-state.

On Wednesday Niinisto proclaimed that: “You (Russia) caused this. Look at the mirror.”

Russia has previously warned Finland and Sweden of military repercussions if they joined NATO.

“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay," Niinisto and Marin said in a statement. "We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

Russia immediately reacted to the Nordic country’s decision with a stark warning. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry stated that if Finland proceeds to join NATO, it shall “inflict serious damage to Russian-Finnish relations as well as stability and security in Northern Europe."

The ministry proclaimed that: “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps of military-technical and other characteristics in order to counter the emerging threats to its national security."

It went further by stating: “History will determine why Finland needed to turn its territory into a bulwark of military face-off with Russia while losing independence in making its own decisions.”

Both Sweden and Finland have reconsidered their neutrality following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, and are now eager to join the military bloc - this support has also been echoed by the public in both nations. Finnish broadcaster YLE conducted an opinion poll that showed that 76% of Finns want their nation to join NATO; however, only 20%-30% supported the move from earlier years.

The act of joining NATO would be a historic moment for the nation: as it would be the biggest change in the country’s policy since the Second World War; when it lost two wars against the Soviet Union.

Finland did not want to join NATO during the Cold War, as it feared the Soviet Union’s reaction; therefore, the Nordic nation aimed to keep a neutral stance, by acting as a neutral buffer - allowing the nation to maintain good relations with the West, as well as the East.

Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO, has said that Finland and Sweden would be welcome in the military bloc — both nations having strong militaries — with open arms and wishes that the accession process runs smoothly.

A NATO official said that: “These are not normal times,” referring to the potential applications of both Finland and Sweden.

“The war started by Russia jeopardizes the security and stability of the whole of Europe,” according to Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto.