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Finland's president initiated phone call with Putin to tell him the country is applying to join NATO

Business Insider logo Business Insider 5/14/2022 kbalevic@insider.com (Katie Balevic)
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Frank Augstein/AP © Provided by Business Insider Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Frank Augstein/AP
  • Finnish President Sauli Niinistö told Russia's Vladimir Putin that Finland would seek NATO membership.
  • President Niinistö initiated the call with President Putin, which took place on Saturday. 
  • Russia has previously warned against Finland joining NATO, threatening "retaliatory steps".

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö initiated a phone call with Russia's Vladimir Putin on Saturday, telling the Russian president that Finland will be seeking membership to join NATO.

Russia has previously warned against Finland joining NATO, threatening "retaliatory steps" against the country and claiming Finland's membership in NATO would be a national security threat.

The call between Niinistö and Putin took place on Saturday, according to a press release from Niinistö's office. 


Video: Putin tells Finland joining NATO is a mistake (Reuters)

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"The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important," Niinistö said in the release.

According to the press release, Niinistö reminded Putin that "every independent nation maximizes its security."

The release continued: "This is what is happening now, too. By joining NATO Finland strengthens its own security and assumes its responsibility. It is not away from anyone else."

Finland's president and prime minister issued a strong statement in favor of joining the military alliance on Thursday. The NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg responded by saying Finland would be "warmly welcomed into NATO." 

In his call with Putin, the Finnish president also "repeated his deep concern over the human suffering caused by the war Russia wages in Ukraine," according to the press release. 

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has raised public support for NATO membership to an all-time high in Finland and in neighboring Sweden. 

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