Russia-Ukraine: Finland set to take position on NATO membership

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is due to take an official position on his country’s potential NATO membership on Thursday.

Niinistö is expected to reveal his position in a written statement on Thursday morning.

According to local reports, Prime Minister Sanna Marin will also announce her official position on the NATO issue.

There have been several indications that Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre-long border with Russia, will indeed apply for NATO membership.

The decision to do so will ultimately be taken by the president and the government.

In recent weeks, Niinistö and Marin have travelled to several NATO member states to discuss what security guarantees might be offered by the alliance during any transitional period between Finland’s application and admission.

The U.S. and Germany have both promised their support should either Finland or Sweden decide to make a formal bid to join the military alliance.

Meanwhile, the ruling Social Democrats in Sweden will announce their position on a potential NATO membership at the weekend, after a security analysis by the government is released on Friday.

The other three Nordic countries, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, have been members of NATO since its founding in 1949.

Finland has long been seen as a broker of dialogue between the West and Russia.

But the Ukraine war has fundamentally changed the outlook.

In polls, there has been a drastic shift in public opinion toward Finnish NATO membership.

 In a recent survey, 76 per cent of respondents were in favour of such a move.

Several parties have also signalled their backing.

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