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Finland’s legislature is considering entreating membership with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine intensifies, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told Fox News in a “Special Report” interview on Friday.
Niinisto, an Independent, was asked whether Finland wants to join the Brussels-headquartered alliance, given both the invasion and the fact his country shares a nearly 900-mile eastern border with Putin-controlled Russia.
He responded that for the first time, Finland and neighbor Sweden are seriously considering such a move, citing domestic polling.
“This is something we are now open to discussion with our parliament. We [are] trying to define all the circumstances and the risks and all the benefits and are doing that quite efficiently and as soon as possible,’ he said.
Anchor Bret Baier cited recent articles recounting the 1939 demands from the then-Soviet Union on Finnish waterways and land mass, which led to an invasion that November.
“Back in 1939, Russia attacked, we protected and defended our country, they didn’t come in,” Niinisto replied.
“Surely that reminds of the situation in Ukraine at the moment. You have to remember also that Finland has maybe behaved a bit differently than many European countries,” he continued, adding that Finland’s defenses are strong.
“We see also Germany taking a strong position on its defense sector… And the [other] element surely is the membership of NATO.”
“And like I said, that is under discussion in Finland.”
Given Finland’s proximity to Moscow, Niinisto also commented on Vladimir Putin the person, telling Fox News he has always had a “bitterness and even hatred” toward some in the West because he sees the Russian Federation as having been mistreated.
“[E]verybody wants to avoid more escalation, which is all the time very nearby. There might be even accidental deeds which suddenly break out. And if we have escalation, we’ll have a huge war in front of us. So trying to safeguard that, I think, is the reason why NATO is not present.”