Finland’s Parliament Votes Yes To Nato

Finland’s parliament on Tuesday approved a proposal to apply for membership in the NATO military alliance in a historic policy shift prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinisto and the government decided officially on Sunday that Finland would apply for membership, but the decision was pending parliament’s approval.

Of the 200 lawmakers, 188 voted in favor and eight against the application, Speaker Matti Vanhanen said.

“Finland’s membership in NATO will not change our basic thinking that we will always seek peaceful solutions and we are a peace-loving nation that will first and foremost seek diplomatic solutions to every conflict,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said during the debate.

Lavrov and other Russian officials had initially argued for months that Finland or Sweden joining NATO would post a direct threat to Russia, going so far as to threaten to deploy nuclear weapons on Finland’s border, but on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “Finland and Sweden joining NATO “makes no big difference”.

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