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Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Saturday that the country plans to apply for NATO membership in the coming days.
In a statement, Niinisto’s office said it had highlighted how Russian demands late last year to prevent countries from joining NATO had “changed Finland’s security environment. “.
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“The conversation was direct and direct and it passed without escalation,” Niinisto said in a statement. “Avoiding tensions was considered important.”
Russia has yet to provide a statement giving its version of the appeal.
The office pointed out that it had already told Putin in 2012 that each independent nation maximizes its security.
“That’s what’s happening now too,” the office said. “By joining NATO, Finland strengthens its own security and assumes its responsibilities. It is not alienated from anyone else.”
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Niinisto noted that he reiterated his “deep concern” over Russia’s attack on Ukraine and “stressed the imperative for peace.”
“He also conveyed the messages on securing the evacuation of civilians issued earlier in the same week by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,” the office said.
Furthermore, the leader of the militarily non-aligned Nordic country said Finland “wants to deal with the practical issues arising from being a neighbor of Russia in a proper and professional manner.”
Finland shares an 830 mile border with Russia.
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On Thursday, the Kremlin called Finland’s efforts to join NATO a “threat to Russia”.
An official announcement from Niinisto and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin is expected on Sunday.
The phone call was initiated by Finland.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.