International

Finland’s parliament approves NATO membership proposal

Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced Tuesday the country’s parliament has voted to approve its application to join NATO. 

The prime minister tweeted that 188 lawmakers voted in favor of the action, while only eight voted against. 

“The long and stable line of foreign and security policy, which seeks consensus, is still in place today,” she said. 

Finland and Sweden have both expressed a desire to join the Western alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which had also spoken with of joining NATO with interest.

Russia has sent mixed signals on its stance regarding Finland’s membership, originally decrying the idea. 

Back in February, a Russian official said there would be “military and political consequences” if Finland or Sweden tried to join NATO.

“Finland joined the unfriendly steps taken by the European Union toward our country. This cannot fail to arouse our regret, and is a reason for corresponding symmetrical responses on our side,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said last week.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to disagree with those officials on Monday, saying as long as NATO does not move troops or weapons into the country that Finland joining the alliance is not a direct threat to Russia. 

“As far as expansion goes, including new members Finland and Sweden, Russia has no problems with these states — none. And so in this sense, there is no immediate threat to Russia from an expansion to include these countries,” Putin said.

Putin’s sentiment aligns with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö‘s description of the call he had with Putin to tell him the news of the country’s NATO ambitions, saying the conversation with the Russian president was “calm and cool.”

Finland’s vote also comes the same day the White House announced President Biden would be meeting with leaders from Finland and Sweden to discuss their intentions.

“The leaders will discuss Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO applications and European security, as well as strengthening our close partnerships across a range of global issues and support for Ukraine,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Tags Biden Dmitry Peskov Finland Finland NATO NATO expansion russia Russia-Ukraine war Sanna Marin Vladimir Putin

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