Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
Frank Augstein | Reuters
Finland will apply for membership of NATO, the country’s president said Sunday, in a historic move for the Nordic country, which has had a decades-long policy of military neutrality.
In a press conference alongside Prime Minister Sanna Marin, President Sauli Niinisto said NATO membership will “maximize” Finland’s security after Russia’s unprecedented invasion of Ukraine in February.
“We have reached an important decision today,” Marin said, adding that it is “based on a strong mandate.”
“We hope that the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for NATO membership in the coming days,” she added. The formal application is due to be submitted next week.
Marin said Finland has been in close contact with NATO and its members over the decision. Last week, Marin and Niinisto said the country should apply to join NATO “without delay.”
Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia; if it joins the military alliance, the land border that Russia shares with NATO territories would roughly double.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly.