Finland announces to apply for NATO membership | DW News

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DW News published this video item, entitled “Finland announces to apply for NATO membership | DW News” – below is their description.

The president and prime minister of Finland released a joint statement on Thursday laying out their intention to bring Finland into the NATO alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in the statement. “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” they added, saying that they hope the decision will be taken “within the next few days.”

Finland shares a long, 1,300-kilometer (810-mile) border with Russia. During the Cold War, Helsinki maintained a form of diplomatic non-alignment between NATO and the Soviet Union, but Moscow’s recent aggression has pushed the Baltic state to reconsider its position. Public support in Finland for joining the western alliance has shot up since Russian troops marched into Ukraine, reaching 76% according to a recent poll carried out by public broadcaster YLE. This marks a substantial shift in public perception as previous support for joining NATO had hovered around 25% for many years.

Friendly relations with Russia have soured since the beginning of the invasion with threats from Moscow that any attempt to join NATO would bring consequences. Finland, which fought in wars against the Soviet Union in 1939 and 1944, stepped up its cooperation with NATO following Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014.

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