BEIJING. – The president and prime minister of Finland announced yesterday that Finland, a long-time neutral country even throughout the Cold War, must apply to join the NATO “without delay,” and its neighbour Sweden, known for over two centuries of military neutrality when Europe faced turbulence, is expected to decide soon on whether to submit an application to join the alliance.
Russia vowed a symmetrical response to the move, and Chinese observers warned that the further squeezing of Russia’s strategic space will not only complicate the ongoing Ukraine crisis but also erode the basis for sustainable security in Europe, even endangering the world given NATO’s continuous expansion – in eastward, northward direction and even “Asianisation.”
Finland President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced the country should apply to join NATO. The government will debate the issue over the weekend and the Finnish parliament is expected to give its final approval as early as Monday.
Sweden will likely announce its decision to join this week and NATO allies expect the two countries to be granted membership soon, paving the way for increased troop presence in the Nordic region during the one-year ratification period, Reuters reported.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday inked defence deals with Sweden and Finland that would see the UK send aid, including military support, in the event of an attack, media reported.
The Kremlin said Finland’s bid to join NATO was “definitely” a threat to Russia and the expansion of the military bloc would not make Europe or the world more stable.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the steps taken by Finland were a cause for regret and a reason to impose a symmetrical response. Russian reactions “depend on how the NATO expansion plays out, and extent to which military infrastructure moves closer to our borders.
For Finland, joining NATO is mainly defensive and hopefully it will be cautious of NATO deployments in its territories. – Global times