Finland: President Niinistö called Putin on NATO membership project

Sylvie Claire / May 15, 2022

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö called Saturday his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about the imminent application of the Nordic country to Nato denounced by Moscow, announced Helsinki.
The conversation was direct and straightforward and went without any annoyance. Avoiding tensions was considered important, the Finnish head of state said in a statement from the presidency.
The Nordic country wants to deal with practical issues related to being a neighboring country of Russia in a proper and professional way, Helsinki assured.
Finland's President and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced Thursday that they would join the U.S.-led military alliance without delay, with an announcement of candidacy expected Sunday.
Moscow had threatened to take technical-military measures in retaliation.
Sweden must also announce in the next few days its application to join NATO.
According to Helsinki, Sauli Niinistö told Vladimir Putin that Moscow's demands at the end of 2021 for a freeze on Nato expansion and then the invasion of Ukraine at the end of February had fundamentally changed Finland's security environment.
On Wednesday, the Finnish president said that Moscow was responsible for the accession project of his country, which is historically non-aligned and not a member of NATO.
Sauli Niinistö and Sanna Marin are expected to formalize Finland's decision to be a NATO candidate on Sunday, with a parliamentary meeting scheduled for Monday.
The end of the military neutrality of Finland would be a mistake, said Saturday Russian President Vladimir Putin, during this telephone conversation.
Vladimir Putin stressed that the end of the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake, since there is no threat to the security of Finland, the statement said.
The announcement of Helsinki's application for NATO membership, viewed with a very bad eye by Moscow, is expected on Sunday.
Such a change in the country's political orientation can have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations, which have developed for years in the spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation between partners, being mutually beneficial, the Kremlin statement said.
The two leaders also discussed the situation in Ukraine where Russia is conducting an offensive since February 24, Mr. Putin informed his Finnish counterpart of "the state of Russian-Ukrainian talks, virtually suspended by Kiev, which shows no interest in a constructive and serious dialogue, according to the same source.
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