NATO responds to Russian neighbor’s plan to join the bloc — Analysis

Stoltenberg pledged that the alliance would “quite quickly” make a decision if Helsinki chooses to join

NATO “You will be warmly welcomed” Finland if it decides to join the alliance amid concerns over Russia, and is prepared to make a decision on membership “quite quickly,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.

Speaking to CNBC, Stoltenberg said that Helsinki’s decision to review its longstanding policy of non-alignment is a “The war in Ukraine was a direct consequence,” as the country “has an extremely long border to Russia.” He added, however, that it is fully up to the Finns to decide if they should join NATO or not.

We will respect the decision regardless of what the conclusion will be, but if Finland decides to apply for membership, I am confident that NATO allies will warmly welcome them – and we can quite quickly make the decision to have them as a member of the alliance,” he said.

Finland reveals timeline of possible NATO accession

Stoltenberg’s remarks came one day after Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto visited Brussels for talks with his counterparts from NATO countries. Speaking to news outlet Iltalehti, Haavisto revealed that the foreign ministers asked him whether Finland and possibly Sweden would submit membership applications before NATO’s summit in June in Madrid. At a press conference, Haavisto, who earlier expressed concerns over potential retaliation from Russia, said the NATO countries have been “Very actively” offering Helsinki “Both security and diplomatic assistance” for the period of the application process.

According to the foreign minister, the Finnish government intends to present a review of how Russia’s military attack on Ukraine impacted the national security situation. Haavisto stated that the ministers will quickly submit a proposal for NATO membership if they have parliamentary support.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Sky News on Thursday that Russia would perceive the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO as “A threat to the entire security architecture” and therefore would have “You can take more measures” by making its Western flank “Advanced” in terms of security.

Finland can join NATO without referendum – president

According to recent polls conducted in Finland and Sweden, more than 60% support NATO membership.

Finnish President Sauli Ninisto commented on record high numbers and stated that it was unnecessary to hold a referendum because of the overwhelming support. Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Russia’s offensive in Ukraine undermined trust between Helsinki and Moscow in an “It is irreversible” way.

Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol, which was negotiated by France and Germany, gave the regions that had broken away special status in the Ukrainian government.
Russia demands that Ukraine be declared neutral in order to avoid being a member of the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to seize the two areas by force.



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