Finland’s president tells Putin: We will apply to join Nato

14 May 2022, 13:54

Sauli Niinisto
Nato Finland Sweden Explainer. Picture: PA

Sauli Niinisto told the Russian leader: ‘Finland will strengthen its own security and assume its responsibilities.’

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has told Vladimir Putin that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country that shares a long border with Russia “will decide to apply for Nato membership in the coming days”.

Mr Niinisto’s office said in a statement that he told the Russian president in a phone conversation how Finland’s security environment had changed after Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, and pointed to Moscow’s demands for Finland to refrain from seeking membership in the 30-member western military alliance.

“The discussion (with Putin) was straightforward and unambiguous and was held without exaggeration. Avoiding tensions was considered important,” said Mr Niinisto, Finland’s president since 2012 and one of few western leaders who has held regular dialogue with Mr Putin over the past 10 years.

Russia Putin
Vladimir Putin (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo/AP)

He pointed out that he told Mr Putin at their first meeting in 2012 that “each independent nation would maximise its own security”.

“That is still the case. By joining Nato, Finland will strengthen its own security and assume its responsibilities. It is not something away from anybody,” Mr Niinisto said.

He stressed that Finland, despite its likely membership of Nato, wants to continue to deal with Russia bilaterally in “practical issues generated by the border neighbourhood” and hopes to engage with Moscow “in a professional manner”.

The phone call was conducted on Finland’s initiative, Mr Niinisto’s office said. The statement did not disclose any comments from Mr Putin or the Kremlin on the conversation.

Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, the longest of any European Union member.

POLITICS Ukraine
(PA Graphics)

Mr Niinisto and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday jointly endorsed the country’s Nato bid and recommended that the country “must apply for Nato membership without delay” to guarantee the nation’s security amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s changed geopolitical and security landscape.

A formal announcement from Mr Niinisto and Ms Marin that Finland intends to apply for Nato membership is expected on Sunday, a day after the likely endorsement by Ms Marin’s governing Social Democratic Party.

Neighbouring Sweden is set to decide on its Nato stance on Sunday in a meeting of the governing Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

US President Joe Biden held a joint call on Friday with Mr Niinisto and Ms Andersson during which, according to the White House, he “underscored his support for Nato’s Open Door policy and for the right of Finland and Sweden to decide their own future, foreign policy and security arrangements”.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Oscar Pistorius has met with the father of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius meets victim Reeva Steenkamp's father in a bid for parole

North Korea has blamed its Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons coming from South Korea.

North Korea blames Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons from South

Exclusive
Boris Johnson said Putin does not have to give up power for there to be peace in Ukraine

Putin's made more than 30 nuke threats during Ukraine invasion, Boris tells LBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at western leaders for their lack of "machismo" and said it would be ‘disgusting’ to see Boris Johnson topless.

Putin mocks G7 leaders' lack of 'machismo' and says PM would look 'disgusting' topless

Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'.

'Kaboom!' Ukraine celebrates Putin's humiliation as Russia retreats from Snake Island

President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

An investigator works outside the Bataclan concert hall (Christophe Ena/PA)

Life without parole for surviving extremist who carried out Paris attacks

A shark is seen swimming across a sand bar (Phil Marcelo/AP)

Great white sharks head to Cape Cod as busy tourist season gets under way

Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (Catherine Wylie/PA)

Men convicted of involvement in 2015 terror attacks in Paris

Salah Abdeslam is believed to be the only surviving member of the group that killed 130 people in the 2015 Paris attacks

Islamic State member found guilty of mass murder for 2015 Paris terror attacks

Vatican Pope Pelosi

Pro-choice Nancy Pelosi receives communion at Vatican despite home city ban

Workers clear debris at the Kremenchuk shopping centre damaged in the Russian rocket attack

Search ongoing for 20 missing after Russian strike on Ukraine shopping centre

People attend a community vigil for the dozens of people found dead in a trailer in San Antonio

‘Difficult process’ identifying Texas lorry trailer death victims – authorities

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

US abortion ruling ‘a setback’ that will cost lives, says WHO chief

Dutch farmers protesting against government plans gather for a demonstration at Stroe

Dutch PM condemns farmers’ protests at minister’s home

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in by committee chairman Bennie Thompson

Trump dismissed January 6 threats and wanted to join crowd, says former aide