Finland’s Sauli Ninisto says he will talk to the Russian leader to discuss the changed situation following his decision to join NATO.
Leaders of Finnish President Sauli Ninistিস্ত Helsinki have decided to join NATO and are now planning to call his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the changing security situation in the region.
Ninisto commented on his planned outreach in Moscow in an interview with Sweden’s TT news agency on Friday, a day after Finland issued a statement. “Apply for NATO membership without delay.” The Kremlin has said that Finland’s accession to NATO would be a threat to Russia and that the expansion of the US-led military bloc to the east was undermining security in the region.
“I’m not the kind of person who just slips around the corner.” Ninisto spoke of his efforts to discuss the matter with Putin. “I’ll call him and tell him the situation has changed, we both know.”
Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) land border with Russia and fought the Soviet Union in 1939. Prior to the Kovid-19 epidemic, Ninistো and Putin usually met in person twice a year. The Finnish leader traveled to Moscow for a meeting with Putin last October, and the two men spoke on the phone in March, when Ninisto expressed concern about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two weeks after the start of the military offensive against Kiev.
Finland has maintained its military neutrality since the end of World War II, and Finns has historically opposed joining NATO. Public opinion changed dramatically after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. A survey by media outlet YLE found that a record-high 62% of Finns are in favor of NATO membership. Sweden, which has a history of military neutrality more than two centuries ago, is also considering joining the bloc.
Ninisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson spoke by telephone with US President Joe Biden on Friday morning, just days after the two Nordic leaders met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We are deeply concerned about Russia’s war against Ukraine.” Ninisto says Friday’s call with Biden. “I have passed the next steps for Finland to become a NATO member. Finland deeply appreciates all necessary assistance from the United States. “
The United Kingdom has signed a new ‘Pre-NATO’ security agreement
Although Finnish and Swedish leaders have said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced them to reconsider their security position, they now want to do something that triggered the current conflict: seeking NATO membership. Instead of cutting the expected peace dividend after the end of the Cold War in 1989, NATO extended its borders to Russia, breaking its promise against eastward expansion. The bloc has added 14 new members since 1999 and has applied for Ukraine and another former Soviet republic, Georgia, to be part of NATO’s next expansionist wave.
Russian leaders have argued that the deployment of NATO members and strategic weapons at their doorsteps violates the “indivisible security” policy, which means that neither the Western bloc nor Moscow should be allowed to strengthen its own security at the expense of the other.
Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, following the failure of neighboring states to implement the terms of the first Minsk agreement, and the final recognition of the Donetsk republics of Moscow, Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk protocol was designed to give special status to isolated territories within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine formally declare itself a neutral state that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv has insisted that the Russian invasion was completely unpopular and has denied claims that it is planning to forcibly retake the two republics.