Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
Frank Augstein | Reuters
Finland will apply for NATO membership, the country’s president said on Sunday, in a historic move for the Nordic country, which has a decades-old policy of military neutrality.
At a news conference alongside Prime Minister Sanna Marin, President Sauli Niinisto said that NATO membership will “maximize” Finland’s security after Russia’s unprecedented invasion of Ukraine in February.
“We have reached an important decision today,” Marin said, adding that “it is based on a strong mandate.”
“We hope that the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for NATO membership in the coming days,” he added. The formal application should be submitted next week.
Marin said Finland is in close contact with NATO and its members over the decision. Last week, Marin and Niinisto said the country should apply for NATO membership “without delay.”
Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia; if he joins the military alliance, the land border Russia shares with NATO territories would practically double.
This is breaking news and will be updated soon.