Russia's invasion of Ukraine has opened Finland's eyes to the urgent need to join NATO quickly this spring, without a referendum, according to Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Saturday.
"Russia is not the neighbor we thought it was," Marin told Social Democratic Party (SDP) delegates in Helsinki, according to Finnish broadcasting company YLE, urging Finland to decide to seek NATO membership "thoroughly but quickly" this spring.
"If the president or I voiced strong opinions on the issue, it would be the end of the debate," Marin added. "I believe it's very important that all of Finland's most central institutions are involved in the ongoing debate."
Marin added there were going to be consequences regardless of whether it stayed out of NATO or entered into it. Russia's Vladimir Putin has warned of Finland and Sweden entering NATO, but the invasion of Ukraine ultimately might put Finland's sovereignty at risk anyway.
Marin has not seen any opposition to Finland joining NATO among member countries, according to the report.
The Helsinki gathering Saturday among SDP delegates was called to form the party position on NATO membership, YLE reported.
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