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Foreign Minister: Finland taking part in Nato virtual summit

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said it is important that the opportunity to apply for Nato membership remains available.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, file photo. Image: Anders Wiklund / AFP

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) confirmed on Thursday that Finland and Sweden were taking part in Nato's virtual summit about the Ukraine situation on Friday.

"It is important for Finland and Sweden to be involved in the Nato meeting, due to the situation in the Baltic Sea region, for example," Haavisto said.

Haavisto also said it is important that the opportunity to apply for Nato membership remains available.

"We consider it important that Nato continues its open-door policy and that we can apply for membership if we wish," Haavisto said.

Finland and Sweden are currently Nato partners, not members of the military alliance.

Public support for Nato membership in Finland has been generally weak, but as the situation between Russia and Ukraine escalated, there has been increasing interest in joining the alliance.

Ukraine is not a member of Nato, but has a standing offer to join the alliance if it meets certain criteria.

Meetings on next steps

Haavisto said that the foreign affairs ministry's representative and Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in­-Office in Ukraine, Mikko Kinnunen,has departed Ukraine via Poland.

"The roads are full and there is a lack of petrol," Haavisto said, adding that Finland is prepared to help people in Ukraine seeking assistance.

"Finland will help people through humanitarian aid both inside and outside Ukraine. The government has dealt with helping those who stay and those who leave for security reasons," he said.

Several groups have called for special meetings due to the Russian invasion, including an extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Belgium on Friday.

An extraordinary meeting of the OSCE was called in Poland on Thursday and in the evening Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) is scheduled to attend a European Council meeting about sanctions on Russia.