Finnish President Sauli Ninistটো confirmed on Sunday that his country would apply for membership in the NATO military alliance, following a historic policy change over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow, which shares a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border with Finland, said joining the transatlantic alliance would be a mistake for Helsinki and would damage bilateral relations.
Sweden is expected to follow suit as public support for membership increases amid security concerns.
Ninisto and Prime Minister Sanaa Marin said on Thursday that they were both in favor of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) membership, after the country was given the green light to apply.
“Today, we, the President and the Foreign Policy Committee of the government, have decided together that Finland … will apply for NATO membership,” Ninistিস্ত told reporters at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.
Ninistিস্ত called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to discuss Finland’s plans to join the alliance. Putin said such a move would damage Russian-Finnish relations.
“I am not known for hiding in or around Finland and disappearing silently behind a corner. It is better to say directly what has already been said, to the party concerned and that is what I wanted to do,” he said. His call on Sunday.