Europe

Finland's will to join NATO shows that 'not only' Ukraine's integrity on stake: Spain

Russian war also risks 'peace, progress, and prosperity that EU and NATO embody,' says foreign minister

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 12.05.2022
Finland's will to join NATO shows that 'not only' Ukraine's integrity on stake: Spain

ANKARA

Finland's willingness to be a NATO member shows that the Russian war is putting more than just Ukraine's sovereignty at stake, the Spanish foreign minister said on Thursday.

"This is because right now we all feel that not only the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine are at stake ... but also the project of peace, progress, and prosperity that the EU and NATO embody," Jose Manuel Albares said, commenting on the intention of a traditionally pacifist country like Finland, which holds neutral status since the end of World War II, to join the military alliance.

Albares' remarks came during a conference on NATO and the Southern Flank: The Sahel and the Mediterranean in Alicante, Spain, which he joined via videoconference.

Earlier in the day, the Finnish president and the prime minister in a joint statement announced their intention to seek NATO membership "without delay," defying Russia's warning that they do not want another alliance member at their borders.

The announcement received an immediate backlash from Moscow, saying the entry of Finland and its neighbor Sweden into NATO poses a threat to Russia.

Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer (810-mile) border with Russia, and early in World War II it fiercely defended itself from a Soviet invasion.

Helsinki maintained strict military neutrality during the Cold War, however, the country participates in NATO's partnership activities and cooperation since 1994.

After Russia launched a war against neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24, support for NATO membership in Finland surged significantly.

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