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Image source: Reuters

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö officially announced on May 15 that Finland has applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This would be a historic policy shift following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Today, we, the president and the government’s foreign policy committee, have together decided that Finland … will apply for NATO membership,” President Niinistö said.

In a joint statement with Prime Minister Marin on May 12, Niinisto said that Finland must apply to NATO “without delay.” He called Russian President Putin on May 14 to express his interest in applying for NATO membership.

President Sauli Niinistö spoke in an interview with CNN that Putin said Finland’s joining NATO would be a mistake but did not repeat the warning that it would lead to Russian countermeasures. He said the phone conversation was very smooth and calm.

Turkey, a NATO member, has expressed reservations about integrating Finland and Sweden into the alliance, saying it had changed its stance. President Niinistö said he was confused by Erdogan’s skepticism, “I think that what we need now is a very clear answer. I’m prepared to have a new discussion with President Erdogan about the problems he has raised,” he added.

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