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Finnish ruling party backs joining NATO alliance

dpa
London
Finland’s governing Social Democrats have come out in favour of the country joining NATO following a meeting to discuss the issue, which has gained new urgency since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The move edges Finland a step closer to joining NATO, just days after President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin both voiced their support for membership on Thursday. Both said they endorsed becoming NATO members “without delay,” saying it would strengthen Finland’s security.
Finland has long been neutral, but concerns about its security have mounted since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The decision by Finland’s Social Democrats means a broad majority exists in the Finnish parliament in favour of joining NATO, a decision that is made by the government but which requires parliamentary approval.
Marin reiterated her support for joining NATO during a speech to party delegates on Saturday, saying that Russia had shown it did not respect international agreements, Finnish public broadcaster Yle reported. Marin said only one conclusion could be drawn from the situation, namely that it was time to join NATO.
Finland could announce its decision on NATO membership as early as Sunday, with an official membership application submitted just days later. Finland’s admission to the alliance would double the length of NATO’s border with Russia in one fell swoop.

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