A major political shift was announced today in a joint statement by President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
“Finland must immediately apply to join NATO,” Niinista and Marin said.
“We hope that the national steps that are still needed to make this decision will be taken soon in the coming days.
“Now, when the moment of decision-making is approaching, we declare equal opinions, also for information to parliamentary groups and parties. NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. ”
A serious shift in politics was announced today in a joint statement by President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured).
Finland, which shares an 810-mile border with Russia and has a difficult past, has previously remained outside NATO
Finland, which shares an 810-mile border with Russia and has a difficult past, has previously stayed out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to maintain friendly relations with its eastern neighbor.
Earlier in the morning, former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said: “I have been waiting for this day for 30 years.
“The announcement of Finland’s membership in NATO is inevitable.”
Sweden is expected to follow Finland soon with an application to join the Western military pact.
The Nordic countries have been shocked by Moscow’s war against its pro-Western neighbor, which has boosted domestic support for joining the alliance – and the security that membership will provide.
Yesterday in Latvia during the exercises “Iron Spear” fired on tanks and infantry fighting vehicles of the reinforced combat group “Forward Presence”
Why are Sweden and Finland not members of NATO?
Both Finland and Sweden have been non-aligned since World War II.
Sweden maintained its policy of neutrality – which began in the early 19th century – throughout the war, seeking to avoid involvement in the conflict involving neighboring Germany and the Soviet Union.
Instead, Sweden benefited from its neutrality by exporting iron ore to the Nazis and exchanging military intelligence with allies and training its refugee soldiers.
Meanwhile, Finland changed sides in the conflict, first invaded by Joseph Stalin and helped the Nazis, and then fought against Hitler’s troops.
When NATO was formed in 1949 for the Western military alliance, Sweden decided not to join and continue its neutrality by introducing a security policy that ensured its non-alignment in peace and neutrality in war.
In 1994, Stockholm decided to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, which aims to build trust between member states and other European countries, but so far this has not signaled a desire to fully join the alliance.
Finland is also a member of the PfP, but has also stated its desire to remain neutral after the war.
The EU member state was part of the Russian Empire and gained independence during the Russian Revolution of 1917, but nearly lost it while fighting the Soviet Union in World War II.
Finland, which invaded Russia in 1939 and had a long border with the superpower, wanted to stay away from future conflicts, giving it the freedom to maintain strong relations with Moscow and the West, enjoying a free market economy.
Any NATO enlargement is bound to anger Vladimir Putin, who has warned Sweden and Finland against joining.
The Russian tyrant has historically rejected any expansion of the alliance to the east and strongly condemns any idea of Ukraine’s accession. He argued that Ukraine’s proximity to the West was one of the reasons for its invasion.
But growing warnings and threatening rhetoric from Moscow have apparently only strengthened Finland and Sweden’s determination to join.
This comes after the UK yesterday promised to come to Sweden and FinlandHelp Russia in the event that any of the countries is attacked by Russia.
Boris Johnson signed security agreements with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts during visits to the country on Wednesday.
The agreement could provide for the deployment of British troops to the two countries in the event of a Russian invasion by Putin’s “tyrant of the XXI century”, which threatened “military and political consequences” if any of the countries joined the NATO union.
Speaking after the pact was signed yesterday, Niinista said he did not view joining the military alliance as a “zero-sum game”. “Joining NATO will not be against anyone,” said the Finnish president.
Describing the declaration as a “turning point in our common history”, Mr Johnson added: “This is very important because … the Russian invasion of Ukraine changed the equation of European security and rewrote our reality and changed our future.
“We saw the end of the post-Cold War period, and the invasion of Ukraine unfortunately opened a new chapter.”
Finland has a long land border with Russia and is only about 250 miles from St. Petersburg.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 led to a rapid change in public opinion in Finland and Sweden in favor of NATO membership, which until recently had little support.
A poll published on Monday by Finnish public broadcaster Yle found that a record 76 percent of Finns support joining the alliance, compared to a stable 20 to 30 percent registered in recent years.
Public opinion has also risen in Sweden, albeit to a lower level, and now about half of Swedes are in favor.
Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party said Monday it would announce its position on NATO on May 15. A favorable position will give a clear parliamentary majority to apply.
Elizabeth Brow, a Nordic defense expert at the American Institute of Entrepreneurship, told AFP that while Stockholm looks more hesitant than Helsinki, she believes the two countries “will apply at the same time.”
Traditionally accustomed to lengthy debates to build consensus on key issues, Sweden was caught off guard by Finland’s quick turn.
“The Social Democrats in Sweden have always said, ‘We’ll think about it when Finland joins,’ because they thought Finland would never join,” Brow said.
When Russia last tried to seize Finland … and failed
More than 80 years ago, little Finland took over the power of the Soviet Union when dictator Joseph Stalin ordered an invasion after its government refused to relinquish significant territory.
The Winter War of 1939-1940, which began less than three months after the outbreak of World War II, led Finnish troops to use groundbreaking tactics to challenge Russia’s hopes for a quick and decisive victory that could bring all over Stalin’s control. country.
Instead, the Soviet military, which numbered about a million, was fiercely resisted for nearly three months, with dramatic photographs showing how vehicles and equipment had to be left in the face of opposition and frost.
During this time, Russia suffered more than 300,000 casualties, including 126,900 deaths, and lost up to 3,500 tanks and about 500 aircraft.
For comparison, Finland lost 25,900 people out of an initial number of about 300,000 people.
Stories of Finnish heroism include the story of a Finnish farmer who became the deadliest sniper in history after killing 505 Soviet soldiers.
In the battles, Finland also became a pioneer in the use of a homemade grenade Molotov cocktail, named after the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union.
Eventually, however, the numerical superiority of Soviet forces took over, and the Finnish government was eventually forced to sign a peace treaty that forced them to give up about ten percent of their territory.
Despite the defeat, Finland emerged with intact sovereignty and strengthened its international reputation, while the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations and condemned by other world leaders for the illegal invasion.
Finnish sniper Sima Heiha became a hero after scoring the highest number of sniper killings in the history of the war.
At the age of 33, when the war began, Heiha quickly gained a terrible reputation by inflicting an inconspicuous and unheard-of blow on enemies from hidden positions within 300 yards of his target.
Nicknamed the White Death, Heiha was the main target for the Soviets, who inflicted mortars and heavy artillery on him to stop his killing, which once took 25 people in one day.
Finland then allied with Nazi Germany against the Soviets in the so-called Continuing War in 1941, when Helsinki tried to regain its lost territories.
After a ceasefire was agreed in the Moscow Armistice of 1944, Finland was ordered to send Nazi troops stationed in the country that sparked Lapland’s war with Germany.
Under the Paris Peace Treaty, Finland was listed as an ally with Nazi Germany and obliged to pay reparations.
The country then pursued a policy of neutrality, maintaining a free market economy and democracy, despite strong relations with the Soviet Union.