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Finland's NATO bid 'highly likely'

Finland’s NATO bid ‘highly likely’

Finland’s European Affairs Minister Titi Toborainen said on Friday that Finland is “very likely” to apply for NATO membership as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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“It is very likely, but the decision has not yet been taken,” the minister said on Britain’s Sky News, while the Russian diplomat warned Helsinki and Stockholm that such a measure would have consequences for these countries and European security.

On Wednesday, during a trip to Sweden, which is also considering membership, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin indicated that the selection of the candidate would be made “in a few weeks”, after a parliamentary debate.

For the northern country, which has a 1,300 km border with Russia, joining the 30-member US-led coalition would provide a “much greater” deterrence against an attack from its neighbour, noted the “White Paper” on the subject, which was announced about him. days ago.

“It seems that the Finns have made up their minds and there is already a large majority in favor of joining NATO,” said Ms. Tuppurainen.

In fact, support for membership, which has stagnated around 20-25% for decades in Finland, has almost tripled, to more than 60% or even 70%.

In Parliament, too, a clear majority appears. Of the MPs who have already declared their position, about 100 out of 200 support membership and only 12 are against it, according to local media reports.

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“Being a NATO member cannot enhance its national security. Finland and Sweden will de facto be the front line of NATO,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Friday.

The day before, former Russian President and current deputy on the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev emphasized that if Finland or Sweden joined NATO, Russia would strengthen its military means, in particular nuclear, in the Baltic Sea and near Scandinavia.