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NATO membership best way to ward off possible Russian threat: Finnish parliamentary committee

Finland’s defense is good but not enough to fight off possible attack by Russia, says parliament's defense committee

Merve Berker and Atila Altuntas   | 10.05.2022
NATO membership best way to ward off possible Russian threat: Finnish parliamentary committee

ANKARA / STOCKHOLM

The best way to guarantee Finland’s security against a possible Russian threat is to join NATO, according to the defense committee of the nation’s parliament.

Ahead of Finland’s official decision on joining or not joining NATO, the country’s defense committee on Tuesday said it favored becoming a NATO member state.

The committee said in a statement that Finnish membership in the military alliance would sharply reduce the possibility of being a target of Russian aggression in the future.

Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer-long (807-mile) border with Russia, and in fact was invaded by the Soviet Union early in World War II.

The country’s defense is good but it is unfortunately not strong enough to fight off a possible Russian threat, the committee stressed.

“Membership in NATO is the best solution for Finland's security,” said Petteri Orpo, the committee’s head.

“It strengthens Finland's national defense capability with the support of the union's significant military resources," he added.

President Sauli Niinisto has said that he will announce his country’s membership decision on Thursday.

Swedish membership

Peter Hultqvist, the defense minister of neighboring Sweden, told state radio that if Sweden and Finland joined the alliance, this would boost Scandinavia’s defense capability.

On March 10, he had said that as long as he is Sweden’s defense minister, the country would never join NATO. But that was relatively early after Russia launched its war on Ukraine, on Feb. 24, and circumstances may have changed.

Polls in both countries have shown a majority of the public favoring NATO membership, unlike before the war.

According to Swedish daily Expressen, Sweden and Finland will apply for NATO membership on later this month.

Russia previously warned Sweden and Finland against joining NATO, saying the move would have negative consequences for peace and stability in Northern Europe.

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