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    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Monday that Congress could ratify Finland's NATO membership by the end of this summer. He held a press conference alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto after leading a small delegation of senior GOP senators to Ukraine, Sweden and Finland over the weekend. It comes as the US and its western allies seek to fast-track Finland and Sweden's membership to NATO, spurred by Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine launched in February. McConnell said he gave the leaders of both nations his 'personal assurance' that he supports their membership in the defensive alliance.  'It was a special honor to visit both these strong, proud nations during the exact days when both countries’ governments were concluding their deliberations and preparing to formally move forward with joining NATO,' the Kentucky Republican said in a statement. 'Sweden and Finland already have long track records as two of the United States’ and NATO’s most capable friends and partners, even from outside the alliance.' Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned their admittance would 'trigger a response' from Moscow.  President of Finland...
    IN May 2022, Finland officially announced its intention join NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But will the decision be approved and who else wants to join? Here's all you need to know. 1Current projections show a large majority of Finland's parliament support the bidCredit: Alamy Is Finland joining Nato? Finland officially announced their intention to join NATO on 15 May 2022. Finnish president Sauli Niinisto said: "Today, the President of the Republic and the Government's Foreign Policy Committee have jointly agreed that Finland will apply for NATO membership, after consulting parliament. This is a historic day. A new era is opening." Prime minister Sanna Marin added: "We have reached today an important decision in good cooperation with the government and the president of the republic. "We hope the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for the NATO membership during the coming days. It will be based on a strong mandate." READ MORE ON FINLANDNEW KIDS ON THE BLOC Finland applies to NATO after Russia threat to nuke it in 'seconds'VLAD'S THREAT Putin warns Finland not to join...
    Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy holds a conversation with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen via videolink, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine May 9, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters Here are the five crucial tests Ukraine and its global partners and allies must tackle as Russian President Vladimir Putin's criminal war approaches its most decisive phase. Some are short-term, and others have generational consequences. What unites them is that all five are necessary to transform Putin's murderous authoritarian threat into a historic opportunity for the civilized world to shape a better future. Can Ukraine's friends, particularly those in Europe and North America, not only maintain but also strengthen their unity and solidarity in the face of Putin's growing brutality? With global energy prices and inflation rising, can Ukraine's friends avoid the inevitable fatigue among democracies and remain focused on what seems a far-away threat? Will Ukraine's arms suppliers continue to provide Kyiv with greater military capabilities, despite Moscow's threats of escalation, including the possible use of battlefield nukes. With this enhanced weaponry, can Ukrainian...
    BERLIN (AP) – A senior NATO official said Sunday that Russia’s military advance in Ukraine appears to be faltering and he expressed hope that Kyiv can win the war, as Russia’s neighbour Finland announced it wants to join the Western military alliance. Top NATO diplomats are meeting Sunday in Berlin to discuss providing further support to Ukraine and moves by Finland, Sweden, and others to join NATO in the face of threats from Russia. The President and Government of Finland announced Sunday that the previously neutral Nordic country that shares a long border with Russia intends to apply for membership in NATO, paving the way for the 30-member Western military alliance to expand. President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. “This is a historic day. A new era begins,” Niinisto said. Guesthouses for Terrorist Organisations – Turkey Opposes Sweden and Finland Joining NATO https://t.co/MZ9Ryuj85Q — Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 15, 2022 The Finnish Parliament is expected to endorse the decision in coming days, but it...
    FINLAND has confirmed it will be applying for NATO membership despite warnings from Russia that it could nuke the country in "ten seconds". The move comes in defiance of Moscow's threat after Vladimir Putin yesterday told the Finnish president joining the Western alliance would be a "mistake". 3Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinisto have confirmed the country will be applying to join NATOCredit: AP 3Finland has remained militarily non-aligned for 75 yearsCredit: AP Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday they both favoured NATO membership, in a major policy shift prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia, which shares an 830-mile border with Finland, has said it Helsinki joining the transatlantic alliance would harm bilateral ties. Niinisto said: "Today, the President of the Republic and the Government's Foreign Policy Committee have jointly agreed that "Finland will apply for NATO membership, after consulting parliament. This is a historic day. A new era is opening." Read more on FinlandPUTIN’S FINNISH-ED Finns & Swedes to join Nato ‘in MONTHS’ after historic UK security pactON THE...
    Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.Frank Augstein | Reuters Finland will apply for membership of NATO, the country's president said Sunday, in a historic move for the Nordic country, which has had a decades-long policy of military neutrality. In a press conference, President Sauli Niinisto said membership of NATO will "maximize" Finland's security after Russia's unprecedented invasion of Ukraine in February. It comes after Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin last week said the country should apply to join NATO "without delay." Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia; if it joins the military alliance, the land border that Russia shares with NATO territories would roughly double. This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly. TVWATCH LIVEWATCH IN THE APPUP NEXT | ETListen
    (CNN)Finland's government announced Sunday it will apply to join NATO, ditching decades of wartime neutrality and ignoring Russian threats of possible retaliation as the Nordic country attempts to strengthen its security following the onset of the war in Ukraine. The decision was announced at a joint press conference on Sunday with President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who said the move must be ratified by the country's parliament before it can go forward. "We hope that the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for NATO membership," Marin said during a press conference in Helsinki Sunday. "During the coming days. It will be based on a strong mandate, with the President of the Republic. We have been in close contact with governments of NATO member states and NATO itself."The move would bring the US-led military alliance up to Finland's 830-mile border with Russia, but could take months to finalize as legislatures of all 30 current members must approve new applicants.It also risks provoking Russia's ire, whose President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö on Saturday that...
    The Finnish President told Vladimir Putin his country will join NATO in a 'direct and straightforward' phone call this morning. Sauli Niinistö said the conversation was 'conducted without aggravations' as both parties worked to 'avoid tensions'. The discussion came as Russia cut off electricity supplies to the country and a Putin lackey boasted that the Kremlin could destroy Finland in 'ten seconds'. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö (pictured at a press conference last week) initiated the call A readout from the Finnish President's Office stated: 'President Niinistö announced that Finland decides to seek NATO membership in the next few days.' Russia's invasion of Ukraine and cyber-attacks on Finland and Sweden have 'altered the security environment' in Helsinki, Putin was told. It wasn't revealed how long the call went on or whether Niinisto had consulted other world leaders before speaking to Putin.  President Niinistö reportedly reminded the Kremlin leader that they agreed every independent nation maximise its security during their first meeting in 2012. 'This is what is happening now, too', Niinistö said. Putin (pictured during a Security Council meeting on Friday) stayed calm, Helsinki...
    HELSINKI (AP) — Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Saturday that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country that shares a long border and history with Russia “will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days”. Niinisto’s office said in a statement that the Finnish head of state told Putin in a phone conversation how thoroughly Finland’s security environment had changed after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion on Ukraine, and pointed to Russia’s demands on Finland refraining from seeking membership in NATO, the 30-member Western military alliance. “The discussion (with Putin) was straightforward and unambiguous and was held without exaggeration. Avoiding tensions was considered important,” said Niinisto, Finland’s president since 2012 and one of few Western leaders who has held regular dialogue with Putin over the past ten years. Niinisto pointed out that had already told Putin at their first meeting in 2012 that “each independent nation would maximize its own security.” “That is still the case. By joining NATO, Finland will strengthen its own security and assume its responsibilities. It is not something away from...
    ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is ‘not favorable’ to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    NATO military support for Ukraine risks sparking nuclear war with Russia, Putin ally and ex-president Dmitry Medvedev warned. In a fiery post to nearly one million Telegram users this morning, Medvedev wrote:  'NATO countries pumping weapons into Ukraine, training troops to use western equipment, sending in mercenaries and the exercises of alliance countries near our borders increase the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia. 'Such a conflict always has the risk of turning into a full-fledged nuclear war.' Now serving as deputy chairman of the influential Kremlin Security Council, Medvedev was President of Russia from 2008 to 2012 while Putin was term-limited.  Medvedev, pictured holding a Russian rifle, said NATO risks sparking 'full-fledged nuclear war' Putin (left) confers with Medvedev (right) at his famous Kremlin desk in January 2020, days before Medvedev relinquished the premiership and joined the President's Security Council Medvedev appointed Putin prime minister during that period. When Putin was allowed to become president once again, Medvedev stepped aside. He took the premiership until 2020, at which point Putin nullified term limits and moved...
    A French soldier takes part in a major drill as part of NATO's EFP (Enhance forward presence) operation at the Tapa Estonian army camp near Rakvere, on February 6, 2022.Alain Jocard | Afp | Getty Images Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Thursday that the country should apply to join NATO "without delay." Thursday's announcement is the strongest sign yet that Finland will make a formal application to join NATO. Membership would be historic for the Nordic country, which has had a decades-long policy of military neutrality. "Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay." the leaders said in a joint statement, adding that they hoped that "the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days." "NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security" and that Finland's membership would in turn "strengthen the entire defence alliance." The government will debate the issue over the weekend and the Finnish parliament is expected to give its final approval to the application as early as Monday. President Navasto said Russia's invasion of...
    Finland and Sweden could join NATO swiftly and would be 'welcomed with open arms', its leader said today. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told journalists this morning he expects the two historically neutral countries' entries will happen 'quickly'. The nations have expressed a new desire to join NATO since Russia invaded Ukraine. It follows news yesterday that Finland and Sweden will both apply just next month. Mr Stoltenberg said in Brussels: 'If they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be warmly welcomed and I expect the process to go quickly.' He also described the countries as 'our closest partners', adding: 'They are strong and mature democracies. NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg said the countries 'will be warmly welcomed' and enter 'quickly' RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Ukraine war could last TEN years: Liz Truss predicts a 'long... Russia's state TV tells viewers 'we're all going to die... Share this article Share 'Their armed forces meet NATO standards and are interoperable with NATO forces. 'We train together, we exercise together, and we have also...
    By The Associated Press COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A shipment of valuable art destined for Russian museums that was seized on the Finnish-Russian border can be released under an amendment to sanctions that went into effect on Friday, Finnish customs officials said. The artwork and artifacts — which were returning to Russia from Italy and Japan, where they were on loan — have a total insured value of around 42 million euros ($46 million). They were seized at the Vaalimaa border crossing on April 1-2 under European Union sanctions imposed on Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine. The amendment to the sanctions makes it possible to grant an exceptional permit for transports between museums. Finland’s customs agency said the Foreign Ministry can grant a permit enabling the release of works of art. ___ KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR: — Officials say Russian missile kills 30 civilians at train station — EU imposes sanctions on Putin’s daughters — Key Polish leader bashes Hungary’s Orban, longtime ally, over stance on Ukraine — Congress votes to suspend Russia trade status, enact oil...
    Finland could face mass cyber attacks and even a Russian invasion if it tries to join NATO, the country's president has warned. President Sauli Niinisto said Moscow would send a 'robust' military force into the country and 'destabilise Finnish society' through cyber hacks should Helsinki ask to enter the Western military alliance. Niinisto added: 'We don’t even know all the possibilities for hybrid influencing that someone may invent. The entire world of information technology is vulnerable.  Finnish president Sauli Niinisto (right) met with Boris Johnson (left) at Number Ten this month Finnish PM Sanna Marin has taken a hard line against Moscow and supports tougher sanctions Were Finland to join NATO, it would become the sixth state to share a land border with Russia  Vladimir Putin has expressed his fear of NATO encirclement around Russia, warning Finland and Sweden they would be met with 'military and political consequences' should they join   RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Biden says Putin is a 'BUTCHER' after meeting with some of... Refugees are welcome - but not at Sadiq...
    By The Associated Press COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Finland’s national railway company says it will suspend services between Helsinki and the Russian city of St. Petersburg from this weekend, closing one of the last public transport routes for Russians who want to reach the European Union. Citing the sanctions imposed on Russia, the head of passenger traffice with state-owned VR, Topi Simola, said that “people who wanted to depart from Russia have had adequate time to leave.” Only the morning train from Helsinki to St Petersburg will be operated on Sunday while the afternoon train will be cancelled. Both services from St Petersburg will be operated. After that, trains will be suspended until further notice. VR said customers can cancel their tickets at no cost. ___ KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR: — Officials say 300 dead in airstrike on theater in Mariupol — Biden to visit Poland, a complex ally on Ukraine’s doorstep — Some prominent Russians quit jobs, refuse to support war. — Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage ___ OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: GENEVA — The U.N. human rights office...
    Finland and Sweden have decided to enhance their “information-sharing” with NATO in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as they defy Moscow’s demands that the Nordic states keep the trans-Atlantic alliance at arm's length. “In response to Russia’s aggression, we have decided to strengthen our coordination and information sharing with Finland and Sweden,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Friday. “Both countries are now taking part in all NATO consultations about the crisis.” Russia launched a military offensive to overthrow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, claiming that the attack was a necessary effort to veto Ukraine’s long-stalled pursuit of full membership in the trans-Atlantic alliance. The United States and other NATO leaders warned Russia that such an assault would backfire by making NATO more attractive to Russia’s neighbors, a phenomenon dramatized by a high-profile visit to Washington by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. “An insightful breakfast meeting with CIA Director William Burns, who has a remarkable experience in diplomacy and negotiations with Russia,” Niinisto wrote on Twitter, where he posted a photo of himself with the American spy chief. UNITED KINGDOM...
    President Joe Biden hosted Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House on Friday to discuss the "united trans-Atlantic response" to Russia's war in Ukraine. The president told reporters he was "delighted to have a good friend" take part in the "coordinated" response and called Finland a "critical partner of the United States" and a "strong defense partner" in the Baltics, despite its non-NATO member status. WHITE HOUSE WON'T CALL RUSSIA'S NUCLEAR POWER ATTACK 'WAR CRIME' YET "We agree it’s not only an attack on Ukraine. It’s an attack on the security of Europe and the global peace and stability," Biden added. "We’re committed to helping Ukraine defend itself and support of the humanitarian need of the Ukrainian people." Niinisto in turn thanked Biden for the "leadership" he has shown throughout "very difficult times." "We need it now," he continued, heaping praise on Biden. "Our thoughts today undoubtedly now are with the Ukrainian people who are fighting bravely for their country and we do our best to help." Both Biden and Niinisto joked during their pool spray about Finland's history of...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden met with Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto Friday with the Fins at a crossroads: Whether to move closer to the rest of Europe and the West by trying to join NATO as neighboring Russia pummels Ukraine. Biden said at the start of their meeting, “We agree it’s not only an attack on Ukraine, it’s an attack on the security of Europe.” The Finnish leader thanked the U.S. for “leading in very difficult times.” And he added in brief public remarks before the leaders began their private White House meeting, “We will do our best” to help Ukraine. Finland, as well as neighbor Sweden, for years has resisted joining NATO, with Nordic European Union members seeking to remain neutral between Russia and the West. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine is changing the dynamic. A poll commissioned by Finnish broadcaster YLE this week showed that, for the first time, more than 50% of Finns support joining the Western military alliance. In Sweden, a similar poll showed those in favor of NATO membership outnumber those against. The...
    Former President Donald Trump 'barely knew where Ukraine was,' said his former National Security Advisor John Bolton, as he snapped back at a Newsmax anchor for saying the Trump administration was 'very tough' on Russia.  'In almost every case the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it, saying we were being too hard,' Bolton said in a Monday night interview with Newsmax's Rob Schmitt. 'He once asked John Kelly, the second chief of staff, if Finland were a part of Russia.'  Bolton continued by telling the anchor 'it's not accurate to say that Trump's behavior somehow deterred the Russians.'  Former President Donald Trump 'barely knew where Ukraine was,' said his former National Security Advisor John Bolton (right), as he snapped back at Newsmax anchor Rob Schmitt (left) for saying the Trump administration was 'very tough' on Russia Former President Donald Trump appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday night in Orlando and insisted that Russian President Vladimir Putin didn't act up on his watch because he was a 'strong president'  Bolton instead suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin didn't...
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