The defense relationship between the United States and Finland is now more crucial than ever, after Russia began the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. In this scenario, Joe Biden received the President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, at the White House this Friday to talk about how to strengthen the bilateral defense alliance after the Russian aggression. Finland, the second European country -after Ukraine- with more kilometers of border with Russia, is not a member of NATO, but maintains close ties with the Atlantic Alliance and after Vladimir Putin’s attack, support among the Finns for entering the the organization.
Both presidents appeared very briefly before the press shortly before starting their meeting in the Oval Office. Both Biden and Niinisto expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The Democratic president declared the commitment of the White House to help Finland defend itself, since the conflict in Ukraine has aroused new concern for certain European countries, such as Finland and Sweden.
Biden left open to the press the possibility that Finland could form a closer alliance with NATO, at this time the Nordic country cooperates with the Alliance but is not a member. Shortly before, the White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, did not want to clarify during her daily press conference if the United States would support Finland’s entry into the Atlantic organization, assuring that this decision depends on all the member states of the alliance.
When we have entered the ninth day of a war that has already claimed thousands of deaths and injuries, in addition to a million refugees, the president of the United States was blunt in declaring that “the attack on Ukraine has also been an attack on the security of Europe. “Finland is a key partner of the United States, a strong ally also on defense issues and a NATO ally, especially regarding the strength and security of the Baltic Sea area,” Biden added while checking some notes he was carrying. written.
President Niinistö welcomed the opportunity to discuss current issues with the US president “in these very difficult times.” The Finn also thanked the American for “the leadership” exercised in this crisis. Niinistö also said that the Ukrainian people “fight courageously for their country.” Niinisto called on Thursday to “keep a cool head” in the midst of such a difficult situation in the old continent. “In the midst of an acute crisis it is very important to keep a cool head and carefully assess the impact on our security,” said the president of the Scandinavian country of 5.5 million inhabitants, and a member of the European Union.
Last week, two days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the Kremlin denounced the efforts carried out by the West to include Finland and Sweden in the Atlantic Alliance, countries known for their neutrality, and warned of the serious consequences that the entry of these countries into NATO. “It is clear that the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO, which is above all a military bloc, would have serious political-military consequences, which would require a response from our country,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman warned at a press conference. Russian, Maria Zajarova. The representative of Russian diplomacy pointed out that Moscow was aware of “the efforts of NATO and some member countries of the bloc, above all the United States, to include Finland and also Sweden in the Alliance.”
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At the end of the appearance before the press, Biden dared to make a joke, despite the seriousness of the world situation, and said that his predecessor in office, referring to Barack Obama and not Donald Trump, considered that everything would be better if the world was left in the hands of the Nordic countries. The Finnish president just smiled as he said, “Well, we’re not in the habit of starting wars.”
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