Helsinki would strengthen NATO and bring a lot of “added value” to the US-led military alliance, claimed Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Tytti Tuppurainen, in an interview with Sky News on Saturday.
Finland’s push for NATO membership, which has been reinvigorated amid the Ukrainian crisis, is “about our own resistance” and freedom of “national movement maneuver,” Tuppurainen said. She admitted that it’s been known “for years that the Kremlin is not in favor of NATO enlargement,” but claimed the move is not intended to fuel confrontation with Moscow.
“We are prepared for all kinds of ill will and nasty measures against us. But there’s absolutely no panic. We are not afraid,” Tuppurainen said.
“We have a very strong conscript army. We have just made the decision to buy 60 F-35 fighters, and we are well equipped, and we will be a resource to the alliance,” she added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinisto, on Saturday, in which Niinisto told Putin that his country is set to make a decision on joining the US-led military bloc within days.