Finnish Chief Meets Biden, Weighs NATO as Struggle Deepens


WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden met with Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto Friday with the Fins at a crossroads: Whether or not to maneuver nearer to the remainder of Europe and the West by making an attempt to affix NATO as neighboring Russia pummels Ukraine.

Biden stated initially of their assembly, “We agree it isn’t solely an assault on Ukraine, it is an assault on the safety of Europe.”

The Finnish chief thanked the US for “main in very tough occasions.” And he added in short public remarks earlier than the leaders started their non-public White Home assembly, “We are going to do our greatest” to assist Ukraine.

Finland, in addition to neighboring Sweden, for years has resisted becoming a member of NATO, with Nordic European Union members in search of to stay impartial between Russia and the West. However the Russian invasion of Ukraine is altering the dynamic.

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A ballot commissioned by Finnish broadcaster YLE this week confirmed that, for the primary time, greater than 50% of Finns assist becoming a member of the Western navy alliance. In Sweden, an analogous ballot confirmed these in favor of NATO membership outnumber these in opposition to.

The assault on Ukraine additionally has prompted Finland and Sweden to interrupt with their coverage of not offering arms to international locations at struggle. They’ve despatched assault rifles and anti-tank weapons to Kyiv.

Biden thanked the Finnish president for the nation’s assist for Ukraine. He stated, “Finland is a essential associate to america, a powerful protection associate, a associate to NATO.”

Biden joked that when his outdated boss, President Barack Obama, was in workplace, Obama would generally say “go away the whole lot” to the Nordic international locations to type out.

Niinisto responded dryly: “Effectively, we normally do not begin wars.”

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