The Minister for foreign Affairs of Finland Timo Soini in an interview to the newspaper “Kommersant” said that Helsinki does not exclude the possibility of joining NATO, despite the fact that he does not consider Russia a threat to its security.
“Finland doesn’t feel threatened by Russia and fears nothing. (…) But our foreign policy is to all — and especially with our neighbours to maintain good relations. We are in the EU, the UN, in Nordic, we have a partnership with NATO and so forth,” he said.
Soini added that Finland should not exclude the possibility of joining NATO. “Any country should have such an opportunity, so important to us and open door policy. But the position of the current government of Finland is such that we believe it is irrelevant,” said the Minister.
He also pointed out that the EU is interested in Moscow’s offer of peacekeepers in the Donbass.
“The Russian initiative for peacekeepers in the East of Ukraine has caused some interest in the European Union. And we want to hear more,” he said. “The EU has not rejected, but we need to study it,” — said Soini.
Answering the question of why Helsinki is not in favor of lifting anti-Russian sanctions, Soini said: “the Finns are renowned for their pragmatism. We respect our neighbors — I hope it’s mutual. But what happened in Ukraine and in the Crimea, is unacceptable to us, hence the sanctions. Which will be removed when you complete the Minsk agreement”.
In may, the Ambassador of Finland in Russia Mikko Hautala said that the country has no plans to join NATO. He added that the country has the right to determine foreign policy, but while Helsinki has no plans to join the bloc.
On 17 June last year, the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö said that Helsinki could not abandon the possibility of applying for NATO membership and will only do it if you see the “clear deterioration in security”. According to the head of the state, the question of accession to the Alliance in any case should be put to a national referendum.
The discussion about the accession of Finland to NATO has intensified in connection with the crisis in Ukraine. Supporters of joining the Alliance saying the Alliance will be able to protect the country from aggression from Russia. Objectors insist that this can lead to a deterioration of relations with Moscow.