Finnish PM wants NATO decision to be taken this spring

File photo of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaking on December 8, 2021. (Photo by Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva / AFP / Getty Images)

Sanna Marin on Saturday told Social Democratic Party delegates gathered in Helsinki that it was time for Finland to seriously reconsider its stance on military allegiance.

Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine has forced Finland to reexamine its security policy, according to Marin, who said, “Russia is not the neighbour we thought it was.”

Any decision to seek Nato membership would have to be made “thoroughly but quickly,” essentially this spring, the PM said in her speech to party top brass.

She said Finland would face consequences both if it chose to seek accession to the alliance or opted to stay out of it.

The premier said she would reveal her personal stance on Nato as discussions on membership unfold in the coming weeks.

“If the president or I voiced strong opinions on the issue, it would be the end of the debate…I believe it’s very important that all of Finland’s most central institutions are involved in the ongoing debate,” she said.

Marin also stressed that she was unaware of any current Nato members opposing a potential bid by Finland.

SDP delegates gathered in Helsinki on Saturday to formulate the party’s position on whether Finland should seek Nato membership.

Finns’ interest in joining the military alliance has risen dramatically since Russia’s military attack on Ukraine.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Russian invasion of Ukraine puts ‘more attention onto the needs of the Arctic’, CBC News

Finland: Russian cyber attacks, espionage pose growing threat to Finnish national security, Yle News

Norway: Ukrainian president warns Norway against Russian Arctic militarization, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia announces stricter entry rules as new Iron Curtain looms, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: More than 2,300 Swedish and Finnish troops advance into Northern Norway to join NATO drills Cold Response, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. Army unveils Arctic strategy as relations with Russia plunge into deep freeze, Radio Canada International

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