After Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland seeks to join NATO

Helsinki (AFP) – 01/03/2022. 08:00

Finland witnessed a sudden change in public opinion due to the war in Ukraine

  • A clear majority supports Finland joining the Western Military Alliance
  • 50 thousand citizens of Finland signed the petition

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that Parliament will discuss, on Tuesday, a petition submitted by citizens calling for a referendum on whether to join the country. Finland NATO after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

Marin said in a tweet on Twitter that deputies are invited to express their positions on this petition, but the session “is not intended to conduct a broader discussion on Finland’s position on whether to join a military alliance or not.”

The announcement comes after an opinion poll showed, for the first time in Finland’s history, the existence of a clear majority in support of the country’s joining the Western military alliance. This radical change in Finnish public opinion took place after the Russian military invasion of Ukraine.

The Prime Minister explained that after the petition collected the signatures of 50,000 citizens, the number needed to refer it to Parliament, it “is useful to hear the views of the parties on this issue.”

From this perspective, the question will be on the agenda of the parliamentary session.”

And Marin stressed that the goal of the session is to elicit the opinions of deputies and parties only, after Helsinki confirmed in recent days that it does not intend to join the Atlantic despite the Russian attack on Ukraine.

And Moscow had warned Friday that the accession of Finland – or neighboring Sweden – to the Atlantic “will have serious military and political repercussions,” a threat that has been repeated regularly in recent years.

This parliamentary debate comes after a sudden change in public opinion due to the war in Ukraine.

In an opinion poll conducted by the public television channel Wai Li, 53% of Finns said they supported their country’s joining the military alliance, while 28% opposed the idea and 19% abstained from expressing their opinion.

Charlie Salonius-Pasternak, a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, told AFP on Monday that the result was “historic and completely extraordinary”.

In January, a similar poll published by the daily Helsinken Sanomat found that only 28 percent of Finns supported their country’s entry into the alliance.

Finland, a non-aligned state, but a member of the European Union, took on Monday a “historic” decision to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, ammunition and materiel, including 2,500 machine guns, 150,000 pieces of ammunition, 1,500 rocket launchers and 70,000 field food rations.

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