Finnish President Sauli Niinistö called Russian President Vladimir Putin and told him that the country intends to apply for NATO membership within the next few days.
This is reported press office Finnish President.
During the conversation, Niinistö explained that Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine had fundamentally changed the security situation in Finland, in connection with which it was decided to start the procedure for joining the alliance. At the same time, the Finnish President noted that his country also wants to “correctly and professionally resolve practical issues arising from the fact that it is a neighbor of Russia” in the future.
“The conversation was direct and clear, conducted without escalation. It was considered important to avoid tension,” Niinistö said.
In the conversation, he again expressed his deep concern about the human suffering caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and stressed the need for peace. President Niinistö also conveyed a call made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this week to ensure the evacuation of civilians.
In turn, as reported press office Kremlin, Putin warned Niinistö that “abandoning the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake” and joining NATO could negatively affect bilateral relations.
Speaking about the situation in Ukraine, Putin complained that the negotiation process between Russian and Ukrainian representatives was allegedly “virtually suspended by Kyiv, which is not interested in a serious and constructive dialogue.”
After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the level of support for the idea of joining NATO among the inhabitants of Finland, which had previously been estimated at a few percent, increased tenfold.
Finland and Russia have a common land border about 1,200 kilometers long.
Sweden is expected to apply for NATO membership together with Finland in the coming days.