Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) and the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg discussed Finland’s possible NATO membership at a meeting of the Union’s defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon.
"He said it was a matter for Finland and Sweden whether we wanted to apply for NATO membership or not, and if we did, NATO would take it seriously." Kaikkonen said at the news conference after the meeting.
He added that Stoltenberg was interested in hearing about Finland’s public and political debate on NATO membership and noted the latest opinion polls on Finland’s changing status.
"This is Finland’s decision." Secretary-General Stoltenberg said. "Finland has a free democratic process, which NATO does not want to influence in any way."
The main topic of the Defense Ministers’ meeting was Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
"Everyone understands the seriousness of the situation in Europe," Kaikkonen said.
The meeting was also attended remotely by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov, who spoke about the situation in Ukraine. Reports from the war zone, especially attacks on civilian targets, were horrific, Kaikkonen said.
"Ukraine is fighting, but needs help. Today’s meeting was a good sign of the unity of the West. We will continue to impose sanctions and support Ukraine," Kaikkonen said and added that it cannot be ruled out that Finland would supplement its own arms assistance to Ukraine, as Finland is exploring various ways to help.
Source: The Nordic Page