With ambitions to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Finland announced on Friday it would send more military equipment to Ukraine as the military bloc considers the country’s bid to join the ‘alliance.
“Finland will not forget Ukraine and the Ukrainians. We will continue to help: we will send a new package of defense equipment,” Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said, adding that the decision on the equipment to send was based on the needs of Ukraine. and his army, The Hill reported.
The support for Ukraine comes after Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO, a move that was heavily criticized by Russia. Their bids came after Russia threatened the countries not to apply for membership and violated Finnish and Swedish airspace with fighter jets.
During an appearance with President Joe Biden last month, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said, “We stand ready to contribute to the security of the entire alliance, committing ourselves to the mutual security that comes with to be a NATO ally”.
“Now that we have taken this decisive first step, it is time for NATO allies to step in. We expect strong support from all allies and rapid ratification of our membership,” he added.
According to The Hill, Finland’s defense ministry said the government had voted to approve sending additional defense equipment to Ukraine. However, what equipment Finland will provide, how it will be delivered and when it will be shipped to Ukraine will not be announced, according to the ministry.
The United States has given its full backing to the membership bids of Finland and Sweden, with a Senate panel unanimously approving a resolution urging NATO to accept the countries this week.
NATO should “quickly” approve the two countries’ membership, Biden said in a statement amid smart moves by Russia and China.
“While their applications for NATO membership are considered, the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our common security, and to deter and combat aggression or the threat of assault,” reported The Hill, quoting the President.
Finland and Sweden have begun discussing the possibility of abandoning long-term neutrality and joining NATO as part of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
Alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said in March that NATO would welcome Finland and Sweden and could speed up their applications for membership if they decided to join.
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