Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has confirmed that his country will apply to become a member of the NATO military alliance.
Sunday’s announcement came after Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday they were both in favor of NATO membership, in a major policy change sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia, which shares a long land border with Finland, has said it would be a mistake for Helsinki to join the transatlantic alliance and would damage bilateral ties.
Sweden is also expected to follow suit, as public support for membership has grown amid security concerns.
“Today, we, the president and the government’s foreign policy committee, have decided together that Finland … will apply for NATO membership,” Niinisto told reporters at the presidential palace in Helsinki on Sunday.
Niinisto called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to brief him on Finland’s plans to join the alliance.
“I, or Finland, are not known for slipping away and quietly disappearing behind a corner. It is better to say it clearly, what has already been said, also to the interested party and that is what I wanted to do,” he said of his call. Sunday.