Finland has confirmed that it will apply to join NATO, although the Russian president has warned that this would be a “mistake”.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said joining the military alliance would “maximize” his country’s security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
An official application for membership is expected to be submitted to NATO headquarters in Brussels next week.
Yesterday, Mr Niinisto told Vladimir Putin of his intentions, triggering a warning from the Russian president that abandoning neutrality would be a mistake.
In response to Putin, the Finnish leader said the invasion of Ukraine had changed the country’s security environment.
Finland is expected to follow a similar move for NATO membership.
The expansion of a military alliance of 30 countries would be a blow to Putin, who embarked on the war in what he said was an attempt to prevent it from advancing eastward.
The announcement came at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin to discuss the war in Ukraine and the enlargement of the Alliance.
At the meeting, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said there was “strong support” for a “more global NATO”.