- Finnish President Sauli Niinistö told Russia’s Vladimir Putin that Finland would seek NATO membership.
- President Niinistö started the conversation with President Putin, which took place on Saturday.
- Russia has previously warned against Finland’s accession to NATO and threatened “retaliation”.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö began a phone call with Russian Vladimir Putin on Saturday, telling the Russian president that Finland will seek membership to join NATO.
Russia has previously warned against Finland’s accession to NATO, threatened “retaliation” against the country and claimed Finland’s membership in NATO would pose a threat to national security.
The telephone conversation between Niinistö and Putin took place on Saturday, according to a press release from Niinistö’s office.
“The conversation was direct and uncomplicated and was conducted without irritation. Avoiding tension was considered important,” Niinistö said in the press release.
According to the press release, Niinistö reminded Putin that “every independent nation maximizes its security”.
The release continued: “This is what is happening now. By joining NATO, Finland is strengthening its own security and taking responsibility. It is not taking away from anyone else.”
The Finnish president and prime minister made a strong statement on Thursday in favor of joining the military alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded by saying that Finland “would be most welcome in NATO”.
In his telephone conversation with Putin, the Finnish president also reiterated “his deep concern about the human suffering caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine,” the press release said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has skyrocketed public support for NATO membership in Finland and neighboring Sweden.