During her visit to Greece, Finland’s prime minister said that parliament will soon decide on whether it will seek NATO membership or not.
The possible membership of Finland, which already maintains a robust army, could make sizeable militarily contributions to the alliance, Sanna Marin told a news conference in the Greek capital Athens alongside her Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
She reiterated that Russia’s protracted war in Ukraine has radically altered Europe’s security landscape, adding that her country will continue to support Ukraine.
After long resisting NATO membership, the public and politicians in Finland – which has a long border with Russia – had a change of heart after Russia’s war on Ukraine began on Feb. 24.
Sanctions are already having a significant impact on the Russian economy, according to Marin, who supports even harsher moves, such as a complete ban on Russian energy imports to Europe.
She added that Finland supports additional aid to Ukraine, including humanitarian, financial, and military assistance.
Mitsotakis stressed Greece’s support for sanctions, as well as his call for an investigation of alleged Russian war crimes in Mariupol and elsewhere in Ukraine.
On Finland possibly joining NATO, he said the decision would be taken by the Finnish people, and Greece will respect that.
He vowed that bilateral ties with Finland will be strengthened, particularly in tourism, energy, and trade.
Russia has repeatedly expressed opposition to Finland or Sweden joining NATO. In starting its war on Ukraine, Moscow cited the possibility the country might join NATO, although its membership process had barely begun.
On April 23, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said the Russian war on Ukraine has caused a drastic shift in the European security environment, and that it is the right time for his country to join NATO.
At least 2,787 civilians have been killed and 3,152 others injured in Ukraine since the war started on Feb. 24, according to UN estimates. The true toll is feared to be much higher.
So far, 7.7 million people in Ukraine have been internally displaced, with more than 5.3 million fleeing to other countries, according to the UN refugee agency.