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Finland officially announces NATO membership candidate – Newsroom

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“This is a historic day. A new era has begun,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

The Finnish head of state said that Finland’s accession to NATO “is proof of the strength of democracy” and recalled that this decision was supported by the majority of citizens, political parties and Parliament (Eduskunta).

“Finland will increase its security as much as possible, and this poses no danger to anyone,” Sauli Niinistö said, referring to neighboring Russia, which views the entry of this Scandinavian country into NATO as a threat.

According to the Associated Press, the Finnish parliament is expected to back the decision in the coming days, a formality of the process.

The membership application will then be sent to Brussels, NATO Headquarters.

This is expected to happen within the next week.

It comes a day after Russian leader Vladimir Putin warned Finland that ending military neutrality would be a “mistake”.

After the war in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden began a discussion about joining NATO, which, if implemented, would mean abandoning the historical position of non-alignment of the two countries.

Russia has warned Finland that it will be forced to take retaliatory measures “both of a military-technical and other nature” if the country joins NATO.

Also today in Sweden, the Social Democrats currently in power will speak out on whether they support the candidacy.

With the support of the Social Democratic deputies in the Swedish Parliament, there would be an overwhelming majority in favor of the country’s candidacy for the Atlantic Alliance.

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The Swedish Social Democrats have been since the creation of the Atlantic Alliance in 1949 the main political force against entry, and this line was still confirmed at the last party congress in November.

On Friday, the Swedish authorities released a government and parties report on possible accession, outlining the benefits for Sweden’s accession, including for security in northern Europe.

Russia has a 1,340 km long land border with Finland and a maritime border with Sweden.

MNE highlights ‘good reason for optimism’ on divergence in Alliance expansion

The Portuguese Foreign Minister stressed today that there is “a good basis for optimism” about Finland and Sweden joining NATO, which will resolve the “open issues”, namely the differences pointed out by Turkey.

“I think there are good grounds for optimism. [porque] we all understand that the differences that may exist are always small compared to what really matters, which is strengthening the Alliance and strengthening the security of Finland and Sweden,” said Joao Gomes Cravinho.

Speaking at the conclusion of an informal meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) foreign ministers in Berlin, the head of Portuguese diplomacy stressed that “Turkey, Finland and Sweden are in the process of dialogue to resolve differences” after Ankara was unwilling to expand the Atlantic alliance.

“What happened today was a repetition, already among us – 30 [e sem os chefes da diplomacia finlandesa e sueca] – about the very strong support regarding the accession of Finland and Sweden, and Turkey itself says that it is keen that Finland and Sweden can enter, but it has some concerns and Finland and Sweden will know how to solve open issues, ” – said Joao Gomes Cravinho, addressing the Portuguese journalists.

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To allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO, the approval of the 30 members of the Atlantic Alliance is required.

On the eve of the meeting in the German capital, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke out against the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO, in favor of hosting Kurdish militants, whom Turkey considers terrorists.

It was the first dissenting voice among the 30 Allies on this issue.

The admission of a new member state to NATO requires unanimity, which means that Turkey will be able to block the entry of two Scandinavian countries, whose candidacy should be formalized in the coming days.

However, on Saturday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman came to ensure Turkey “doesn’t close the door” on the two Scandinavian countries joining the Atlantic alliance.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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