NATO chief says Finland’s entry into the alliance will be “quick and easy”

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that of Finland NATO entry will be “quick and easy” once the country applies, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

Stoltenberg released the statement hours later Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin issued a joint statement asking Finland to apply for NATO membership “without delay”.

“If Finland decides to run, it would be warmly welcomed into NATO and the accession process would be smooth and quick,” Stoltenberg said Thursday.

UNITED KINGDOM REACHES DEFENSIVE ALLIANCE WITH SWEDEN AND FINLAND AS COUNTRIES BECOME NATO MEMBERS

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses the media during a joint statement with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz prior to a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, March 17, 2022.
(Photo AP / Michael Sohn, Pool)

Findland’s membership of NATO would be the direct result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow issued a statement on Thursday in an attempt to avert Finland’s membership.

“Finland’s entry into NATO will become a threat to Russia,” Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “NATO’s next expansion does not make our continent more stable and secure.”

“Of course, all of this will become elements for a special analysis and development of the necessary measures to balance the situation and ensure our safety,” he added.

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Finland’s entry into NATO would be particularly sequential given its shared border with Russia. None of Russia’s direct neighbors are currently a member of the alliance, and Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO were one of the main reasons Putin had for invading the country.

The Kremlin warned last month that it would deploy nuclear and hypersonic missiles in the region if Finland and Sweden joined NATO.