March 11 (UPI) — Finland President Sauli Niinisto said Thursday that Finland is examining its past position of neutrality in considering joining NATO in light of Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Finland, which has a long, complicated history with Russia and the former Russian empire, shares an 830-mile border with its neighbor.
“When alternatives and risks have been analyzed, then it’s time for conclusions,” Niinisto said, according to Al Jazeera. “We have safe solutions also for our future. We must review them carefully. Not with delay, but carefully.”
Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Martin said the country would need to build a national consensus to join NATO.
Niinisto said he planned to have a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, stressing that he hopes to continue dialogue with all countries in the meantime.
“[French] President Emmanuel Macron and [German] Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz have done so,” Niinisto told the Helsinki Times. “I’ve heard from both of them that it’s practically a duty to be in contact with Putin if the lines of communication are intact.”
Niinisto declined to say what he would talk to Putin about. He said he felt such contact would be vital to keep war from spreading into other parts of Europe.
Earlier this month, Biden and Niinisto held a bilateral meeting at the White House on Friday where the two discussed the Russian war and how to strengthen European security.