Finland’s leaders in favor of applying for NATO membership

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Finland's leaders in favor of applying for NATO membership

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto makes a point during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Britain has signed a security assurance with Sweden which like its neighbor Finland is pondering whether to join NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pledging to “bolster military ties” in the event of a crisis and support both countries should they come under attack. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

HELSINKI – Finland’s president and prime minister said Thursday they’re in favor of applying for NATO membership, paving the way for the alliance to expand amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The announcement by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin means Finland is virtually certain to seek NATO membership though a few steps remain before the application process can begin. Neighboring Sweden is expected to decide on joining NATO in coming days.

“Now that the moment of decision-making is near, we state our equal views, also for information to the parliamentary groups and parties,” Niinisto and Marin said in a joint statement. “NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security.”

“As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” they said. “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

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