Monday May 23, 2022

Finland decides to seek NATO membership soon, Niinistö tells Putin

Published : 14 May 2022, 19:35

Updated : 14 May 2022, 20:23

  DF Report

File picture of President Sauli Niinistö and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Office of the Finnish President by Matti Porre.

President Sauli Niinistö on Saturday held a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and told him about Finland´s decision to seek NATO membership.

Niinistö made the phone call and announced that Finland decides to seek NATO membership in the next few days, said Office of the President in a press release.

“The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important”, Niinistö said.

Niinistö told Putin how fundamentally the Russian demands in late 2021 aiming at preventing countries from joining NATO and Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have altered the security environment of Finland.

He noted that he had told Putin already in their first meeting in 2012 that every independent nation maximizes its security. This is what is happening now, too. By joining NATO Finland strengthens its own security and assumes its responsibility. It is not away from anyone else. Also in the future, Finland wants to take care of the practical questions arising from being a neighbour of Russia in a correct and professional manner.

Niinistö repeated his deep concern over the human suffering caused by the war Russia wages in Ukraine.

Niinistö stressed the imperative of peace. He also conveyed the messages on securing the evacuation of civilians delivered earlier in the same week by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said in a statement that "Putin stressed that abandoning the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake, since there are no threats to Finland's security."

Putin expressed concern that should Helsinki follow through with plans to join NATO, it may have a negative impact on Russia-Finland relations, reported Xinhua, quoting the Kremlin statement.

Earlier on Friday, President Sauli Niinistö held a trilateral discussion over phone with his US counterpart Joseph R. Biden and Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson and discussed various issues including the possible NATO membership application.