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Finnish PM says joining NATO will strengthen security

By Via AP news wire
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said the possibility of her country joining NATO was for the security of its citizens and called for the international community to unite in stepping up sanctions against Russia during talks Wednesday in Japan.

Non-aligned Finland and Sweden are set to announce their positions on NATO membership this week in what could be a serious blow to Russia as its military struggles to make decisive gains in Ukraine.

“If Finland makes this historical step it is for the security of our own citizens," Marin told a news conference after holding talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. “Joining NATO will strengthen the whole international community that stands for common values.”

Marin said she and Kishida discussed “Russia's horrible aggression against Ukraine and its consequences.” She said that sanctions against Moscow need to cover energy, finance and transport sectors “more broadly than now.”

Kishida thanked Marin for traveling all the way from Helsinki while her government is deciding on NATO membership. He expressed Japan's eagerness to step up cooperation with Finland in responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and also in ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region where Japan is dealing with threats from North Korea and the rise of China's military power.

Kishida said he and Marin agreed to pursue tough sanctions against Moscow and provide utmost support for Ukraine. “Changes to the status quo by force are not permissible no matter where in the world,” he said.

Japan has quickly joined other industrialized and EU countries in imposing sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. There's growing fear in Tokyo that the war may embolden China to take more assertive military actions in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing's vast territorial claims have overlapped with those of its smaller neighbors.

Japan has frozen assets of Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, and government officials and billionaires close to him as well as key banks, restricted trade and announced a decision to phase out imports of Russian coal and crude oil.

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Dive Deeper:
Finnish president, PM in favour of joining NATO 'without delay'
Helsinki (AFP) - Finland's president and prime minister said on Thursday they were in favour of joining NATO and a…
Finnish PM says NATO decision will focus on safety of citizens
Finland's Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, said on Wednesday that if her nation takes the historic step to apply to join…
Finnish leaders back joining NATO; Sweden set to follow
Finland and Sweden are inching closer to joining NATO in what would be another jolt to the European security landscape…
Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay, Finnish President and PM say
Finland should submit an application to join the NATO military alliance, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Kremlin threatens retaliation after Finland leaders say it must join Nato
Finland’s president and PM make call as support for joining trebles since Ukraine war
Finnish president to make first public declaration about desire to join Nato
Finland shares a lengthy land border with Russia and is only about 250 miles from St Petersburg.
Get all your news in one place