Finland Joining NATO ‘Highly Likely’ And Hopefully ‘Swift,’ Finnish Minister Says

Finland Joining NATO ‘Highly Likely’ And Hopefully ‘Swift,’ Finnish Minister Says

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Topline

Finland’s Minister for European Affairs said Friday Finland is “highly likely” to join NATO, days after the prime ministers of Finland and Sweden indicated they’re strongly considering joining the alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—and following Russia’s threatening to deploy nuclear weapons to the region if the countries do so.

Tytti Tuppurainen speaks on the Turkish military operation in Northern Syria in European Parliament. … [+] (Photo by Philipp von Ditfurth/picture alliance via Getty Images)

dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Key Facts

Finnish Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen said in an interview with Sky News there is a “huge majority” in the country supporting NATO membership, but noted the decision has not yet been made in parliament.

When asked how quickly Finland could join NATO, Tuppurainen said it would be in the best interest “for the process to be as swift as possible.”

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said Thursday Russia is prepared to send nuclear weapons to the Baltics if the two countries join NATO.

Tuppurainen said “whatever Russia is saying, we are hearing that,” but added “every country has the right to do its own security arrangements.”

Key Background

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson held a press conference Wednesday announcing both countries are conducting reviews of whether to join NATO due to Russia invading Ukraine in February. “There is a before and after the 24th of February,” Andersson said. “The security landscape has completely changed.” NATO is a 30-country alliance joined together by a security agreement that says “an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies,” and requires NATO countries to provide military aid if a member country is attacked. Finland, which declared independence from Russia in 1917, shares an 810-mile border with Russia, and while Sweden doesn’t border Russia, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea could be a vulnerable target if conflict broke out in the region, DW reports.

Crucial Quote

“The brutal war in Ukraine—that is a wake up call to us all,” Tuppurainen said. “Not only to us Finns, it has to do with the whole security border in Europe.”

Big Number

62%. That’s how many people in Finland support joining NATO, according to a poll conducted by Finnish broadcaster Yleisradio Oy last month, up from 21% in 2017.

Chief Critic

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has argued NATO is a “tool for confrontation.” Peskov has warned of “military and political consequences” if Finland and Sweden join the alliance, claiming it would not bring peace and stability to the European continent.

Tangent

Finland declared itself neutral at the start of World War II, but the Soviet Union invaded Finland in November 1939. The war ended in 1940 with Finland ceding 11% of its territory to the Soviet Union as part of a peace treaty.

Further Reading

Russian Attempts at Grey Zone Ops Against Finland May Guarantee the Expansion Of NATO (Forbes)

Here’s Why Finland And Sweden Might Join NATO — And Why It Matters (Forbes)

Russia Will Deploy Nukes In The Baltics If Finland And Sweden Join NATO, Former President Medvedev Warns (Forbes)

Ukraine war: Finland ‘highly likely’ to join NATO despite Russian nuclear threats, Europe minister says (Sky News)

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