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Finland’s President Tells Putin His Country Will Apply To Join NATO

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Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Saturday that the country plans to apply for NATO membership in the next few days.

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In a release, Niinisto’s office said that he had stressed how Russian demands late last year aiming at preventing countries from joining NATO had “altered the security environment of Finland.”

FILE – Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto makes a point during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool, File)

“The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations,” Niinisto said in a statement. “Avoiding tensions was considered important.”

Niinisto noted that he repeated “deep concern” over Russia’s attack on Ukraine and “stressed the imperative of peace.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Talent and Success Educational Foundation via videoconference at the Sirius Educational Center for Gifted Children in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

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“He also conveyed the messages on securing the evacuation of civilians delivered earlier in the same week by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,” the office said.

The phone call was initiated by Finland.