(CNN) — The statement of support for NATO from Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin was expected, after the Finnish government recently submitted a national security report to the country’s parliament outlining the path to joining the alliance as one of Finland’s options, in the midst of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, public support for NATO membership has risen from around 30% to almost 80%.
Once Parliament has approved the idea in principle and other internal legislative hurdles have been overcome, NATO is expected to invite Finland to negotiate its accession.
Sweden could be next: Sweden, Finland’s neighbor to the west, is also expected to soon announce its intention to join the alliance through a similar process.
In this sense, the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ann Linde, affirms that Sweden will take into account Finland’s valuations on joining NATO, since it is also considering joining the military alliance.
“Finland is Sweden’s closest security and defense partner, and we must take Finland’s assessments into account,” Linde said in a tweet.
“Sweden will decide after the report of the security policy consultations is submitted,” he added.
Important message today from 🇫🇮 President @niinisto & PM @MarinSanna on @BORN membership. 🇫🇮 is 🇸🇪 closest security & defense partner, and we need to take 🇫🇮 assessments into account. 🇸🇪 will decide after the report from the security policy consultations has been presented.
— Ann Linde (@AnnLinde) May 12, 2022
Russia warned both countries against joining NATO, saying there would be consequences.
Finland’s entry into NATO would have both practical and symbolic consequences for Russia and the Western alliance.
change of posture: Since the end of World War II, Finland has remained militarily non-aligned and nominally neutral so as not to provoke Russia. He has at times acquiesced to the Kremlin’s security concerns and has tried to maintain good business relations.
However, the war in Ukraine has sufficiently changed the calculus that NATO membership now seems the best way forward, regardless of Russia’s reaction.
The Kremlin warns that the possible entry of Finland into NATO is a threat to Russia
Finland’s possible entry into NATO is a threat to Russia and will not contribute to greater security, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
“As we have already said many times, the expansion of NATO does not make the world more stable and secure,” Peskov told reporters, commenting on Finland’s plans to join NATO.
Peskov added that Russia’s reaction will depend on the extent to which the alliance’s military infrastructure has advanced to the country’s borders.
“It will depend on what this process of expansion entails, how far and how close to our borders the military infrastructure moves,” Peskov said.
The spokesman added that Russia will analyze the situation with Finland’s entry into NATO and work out the necessary measures to ensure its own security.
NATO members Denmark and Estonia would welcome Finland joining the alliance
NATO members Denmark and Estonia said they would welcome Finland joining the alliance.
In a tweet posted by the Danish State Ministry on Thursday, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said: “Strong messages from the President and Prime Minister of Finland. DK [Dinamarca], of course, will warmly welcome Finland to NATO. It will strengthen NATO and our common security. DK will do everything possible for a quick accession process after the formal application.”
Meanwhile, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that Estonia supports “a speedy accession process” of Finland to NATO, adding that Finland’s possible application will have the country’s “full support”.
“History is being made by our neighbors to the north,” Kallas wrote. on your verified Twitter account.
“You can count on our full support. We support a speedy accession process. For our part we will take the necessary steps quickly,” Kallas added.
What you need to know about Finland’s announcement to support NATO membership
Finland’s leaders have just announced in a joint statement that they are in favor of applying for NATO membership.
Here is the context of the ad:
- The leaders’ position does not constitute a formal decision on the country’s NATO application.
- The coalition government and the president are expected to make a decision on joining NATO in the coming days, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
- The final decision to apply for NATO membership would then require a vote in Parliament, expected early next week.
How will Parliament vote? MP Johannes Koskinen told CNN that he hopes the overwhelming majority of the Finnish Parliament will vote in favour.
“I think in plenary, the results, maybe around 180 out of 200, are in favor of accession,” Koskinen said.
Is NATO membership popular? More than 75% of Finns support joining the military alliance, according to the latest state media polling data.
What are the next steps? Should Finland and Sweden decide to apply for NATO membership, the accession process will “develop rapidly” and interim measures will be put in place until they become formal members of the alliance, the NATO Secretary-General said in April. Jens Stoltenberg.
What is Russia’s reaction? Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russia was closely monitoring NATO’s configuration near its borders, commenting on the possibility of Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.
Ukraine denounces the bombing of villages near the northeastern border with Russia
As the fighting in northeastern Ukraine draws closer to the Russian border, Ukrainian officials say more border towns are coming under attack by Russian forces.
One person was killed when the small town of Novi Vykry was shelled early Thursday by a barrage of 20 artillery shells, according to Ukrainian officials in Sumy.
Shelling of border settlements in Sumy from across the border in Russia has increased in recent days, at the same time that Ukrainian forces are advancing towards another section of the international border in the Kharkiv region.
Earlier this Thursday, the Ukrainian armed forces said that Russian forces had launched an airstrike in the Shostka district of the Sumy region.
Thousands of civilian victims in Mariupol and more than 1,000 civilian bodies recovered in the Kyiv region, according to the UN
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, declared Thursday that her office continues to investigate allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine, “many of which may constitute crimes of war”.
Speaking from Vienna during a special session of the Human Rights Council on Ukraine, Bachelet said that her office estimates that “the number of civilian deaths in Mariupol is in the thousands” and that only with time will “the true magnitude” be known. of the alleged atrocities. He said that in areas of intense hostilities, such as Mariupol, it has been difficult for his team to access and collect information.
In the Kyiv region, the killing of civilians “often appears to be intentional, carried out by snipers and soldiers,” he said. Last week, her team visited 14 cities and towns in the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas, “hearing first-hand accounts of relatives, neighbors and friends killed, injured, detained and missing,” she said.
“To date, more than 1,000 civilian bodies have been recovered in the Kyiv region alone. Some of these people have been killed in the hostilities, others appear to have been summarily executed,” and others appear to have died due to the stress of the hostilities already the lack of medical help, he said. Some appear to have been tortured, she added.
Bachelet reiterated her appeals to “both parties to the conflict” to respect international humanitarian law.