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Finnish-NATO Membership Would Lead to Crisis with Russia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä give a press conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on April 6, 2016

HELSINKI- According to a report commissioned by the Finnish government on Friday, it was stated that there could be serious crisis with neighboring Russia, incase it happens for Finland to join NATO.

As for instance the membership of the military alliance would reinforce Finland’s security nevertheless from the other side it probably going to trigger a tough reaction from the Kremlin, which in effect will leave negative influence on trade between the countries, according to the report prepared for Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s centre-right government.

Noting that no direct recommendation was given through the report on whether Finland should seek membership, but stated that a joint Finnish-Swedish application would be a better strategic option than either Nordic country joining the alliance alone.

Finnish Prime Minister Sipila said that small nations do not often change their basic foreign policy guidelines, then added that leeway was needed in case the security situation changed. In regard of Finns, according to a recent poll by public broadcaster YLE, it was shown that only 22 percent of them support joining NATO, while 55 percent are opposed.

It’s clear in regard of what the report mentioned that without Sweden, Finland would be an isolated outpost which NATO would have difficulty defending, though Finnish membership of NATO would double the length of the border between the alliance and Russia and increase the NATO presence in the Baltic Sea.

Nordic countries have stepped up military cooperation since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. This month two Russian warplanes flew simulated attack passes near a U.S. destroyer in international waters in the Baltic, according to the U.S. military.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview that if Sweden joined NATO, Moscow would take “necessary military-technical measures”.

Though 4 opposition parties showed their desire of the membership, Sweden’s government has said it will not join the alliance. Finland won independence during Russia’s revolution of 1917 but nearly lost it fighting the Soviet Union in World War Two.

It kept close economic and political ties with the West during the Cold War but avoided confrontation with Moscow.