Finland Could Join NATO Before Sweden: Defence Minister
- The country has said that it will work with other European countries to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but it hasn't said if it will send any of its own tanks.
- Savola said that he hopes Finland will join the alliance before a NATO summit in July. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia.
On Saturday, Finland’s defence minister said that his country will join NATO without waiting for Sweden if the Turkish government stops its Nordic neighbour from joining. Mikko Savola told The Associated Press on Saturday that Finland would prefer that both Finland and Sweden join the alliance together, but it wouldn’t slow down the process if Turkey decides to approve Finland but not Sweden, as it has warned.
“No, no. Then we’ll get together, “Savola said this in an interview that took place at a Munich security conference.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Finland and Sweden have said they want to join NATO together. Before that, they had been neutral for decades. But because Turkey won’t accept Sweden unless it puts more pressure on Kurdish exile groups, it’s more likely that the two countries will have to join the alliance at different times.
Savola said, “Sweden is our best friend.” “Our defence forces practise together almost every week, and so on. We work together very closely and trust each other completely. But now it’s up to Turkey.”
The Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, said something similar Saturday night at a panel in Munich.
“Of course, we can’t control how some countries will ratify, but our message is that we are willing to join and would rather join together,” she said.
All NATO members except Turkey and Hungary have already given Turkey and Hungary permission to join. Hungary has said it will do so soon, but Turkey says Sweden hasn’t done enough to address its security concerns. This has caused a rift in NATO at a time when the U.S. and its allies are trying to show a united front against Russia.
In the past few weeks, NATO officials have tried to downplay the importance of the two countries joining at the same time.
“The most important thing is not whether or not Finland and Sweden will join at the same time. The most important thing is that Finland and Sweden join as soon as possible. It is up to Turkey to decide whether to sign both protocols or just one “Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, told reporters in Munich on Friday.
Savola said that he hopes Finland will join the alliance before a NATO summit in July. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia. Savola said that until then, Finland isn’t worried about its security. He pointed out that Finland has a conscription army with 280,000 soldiers, 95% of whom are reservists, and plans to buy F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. while also investing in its naval and land forces.
“We are strong, and we are also very willing to defend our country,” Savola said.
From the beginning of the war, Finland has given weapons to Ukraine to help them fight. So far, Savola said, the amount of money given to the military is 600 million euros. The country has said that it will work with other European countries to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but it hasn’t said if it will send any of its own tanks.
“You can join in many ways. There are, of course, the tanks, the training, the spare parts, and the logistics “he said. “These decisions will be made soon in Finland.”