Finland, Sweden joining NATO to strengthen North: Finnish President
Finland's President claims his country and Sweden joining the NATO alliance will create a stable and strong northern Europe.
Russia's operation in Ukraine prompted Finland and Sweden to join NATO, and their membership in the bloc will make northern Europe more stable and strong, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said on Saturday.
In an interview with the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper, Niinisto pointed out that "the security situation has changed. The first change was that Russia tried to limit the sovereignty [of other countries] and create a sphere of influence."
He claimed that the second change "is that Russia used military force incredibly harshly. And when a neighbor behaves in this way, then, of course, attention must inevitably be paid to this."
If Finland and Sweden join NATO, this will create a stable and strong North, the Finnish president claimed.
Finland & Sweden abandoning long-term neutrality
Finland and Sweden started discussing the possibility of abandoning long-term neutrality and joining the alliance amid the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg underlined in early March that the alliance will gladly welcome Finland and Sweden and will provide them with the opportunity to quickly join.
The two countries are expected to file their membership applications together in the coming months.
Negative consequences for peace and stability
On her part, Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova had warned that Sweden and Finland joining NATO will have instability repercussions in northern Europe.
In a statement, Zakharova explained how it is not a secret that largescale military drills took place in these countries. "The goal is to continue building up military potential and geographic expansion, to create another flank for threats to Russia. And it's unclear why our Finnish and Swedish neighbors in the Baltic region need to turn into a new frontier of confrontation between the NATO bloc and Russia."
The Spokesperson elaborated that the negative consequences for peace and stability are "obvious".
TASS had quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying that Moscow will act accordingly and take the required security and defense measures if Sweden and Finland decide to join NATO.
NATO troops planning drills in Europe, Finland and Sweden join
It is noteworthy that tens of thousands of troops from NATO and other North Atlantic states will participate in a series of military drills throughout Europe in the coming weeks as Western governments attempt to display a show of force against Russia.
The drills will take place in Finland, Poland, North Macedonia, and along the Estonian-Latvian border, and will be supported by planes, tanks, artillery, and armored assault vehicles.