Finland will decide whether or not to apply for NATO membership on May 12, according to the Finnish tabloid Iltalehti, which cited anonymous government sources.
The decision to join will be made in two steps on that day, with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto announcing his permission for Russia’s Nordic neighbor to join the Western defense alliance first, followed by parliamentary factions approving the application, according to the article.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Finland and Sweden to the verge of applying for NATO membership and abandoning a belief held for decades that peace was best kept by not publicly choosing sides.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the details provided by Iltalehti.
Under the Finnish constitution, the president leads Finland’s foreign and security policy in cooperation with the government.
The decision will be confirmed in a meeting between the President and the government’s key ministers after the President’s and the Parliament’s initial announcements, the paper reported.
Russia, with which Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border and a pre-1945 history of conflict, has warned it will deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Baltic coast enclave of Kaliningrad if Finland and Sweden decide to join the U.S.-led NATO alliance.