Finland "highly likely" to join NATO, its Europe minister says
Finland, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, is "highly likely" to join NATO despite the Russian government's threats to deploy nuclear weapons, Finnish Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen said in an interview with Sky News on Friday.
Why it matters: Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has galvanized Sweden and Finland, two historically neutral countries, into joining the defensive alliance. Russia is threatening to bolster its defenses in the Baltic, including deploying nuclear weapons to the region, as retaliation.
What she's saying: "The people of Finland, they seem to have already made up their mind," Tuppurainen told Sky News, noting that polls show overwhelming support for joining NATO.
- "We need to discuss this issue thoroughly in our Parliament," she said. "At this point I would say it is highly likely, but a decision is not yet made."
- "The brutal war in Ukraine, that is a wake-up call to us all," she added. "Not only to us Finns; it has to do with the whole security border in Europe."
What to watch: The Finnish government is expected to submit a report to parliament on the changed security environment by the end of this month, kicking off a debate and eventually a recommendation on applying for NATO membership, Axios' Zachary Basu writes.
- Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told Axios the government could decide to apply to NATO as soon as May.