Italian leader criticizes Finland, Sweden plans to join NATO
Right-wing Italian leader Matteo Salvini says Sweden and Finland's plan to apply to join NATO should be postponed.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of the right-wing party Lega Nord in Italy's ruling coalition, criticized Saturday the decision of Sweden and Finland to apply to join NATO, saying the move should be postponed.
On the sidelines of his party's convention in Rome, Salvini considered that supplying Ukraine with more weapons is not conducive to a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
On Thursday, both Finland and Sweden officially confirmed their plans to apply for NATO membership.
Italian newspaper il Fatto Quotidiano quoted the right-wing as saying, "What brings peace closer must be done immediately, what drives it away must be put on the waiting list."
"Does pushing NATO's borders to Russian borders bring peace closer?" Salvini added.
The politician also spoke against Italy's efforts to send weapons to Ukraine as part of the new package of military aid and favored the possibility of paying for Russian gas in rubles.
"It is one thing to send economic and military aid at the beginning [of the crisis] ... it is another matter to do it now. It is necessary to achieve peace, and sending weapons will not help," Salvini indicated.
Finland and Sweden have been considering plans to join NATO since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24.
The #Kremlin said on Saturday that #Russia's President Vladimir #Putin told his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto that it would be a mistake for #Finland to scrap its military neutrality.#NATO pic.twitter.com/Dhl4Z5pmHJ— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 15, 2022
On Sunday, Finland's president and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy completed a report on the country's NATO membership and decided that the country will seek to join the alliance, according to a statement from the Finnish government.
In March, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pointed out that the alliance would fast-track the membership applications of Finland and Sweden if they decide to join.