May 19, 2022 14:16 UTC
  •  Finland PM says no nuclear arms or NATO bases on Finland's soil even after membership

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin has rejected the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons or establishing NATO military bases on her country's soil even in the event that Helsinki becomes a member of the US-led Western military alliance.

Marin made the remarks in an interview with the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, which was published on Thursday.

During the interview, Marin said the question of NATO deploying nuclear weapons or opening bases in Finland was not part of Helsinki's membership negotiations with the military alliance, adding, "Nor do I think there is any interest in deploying nuclear weapons or opening NATO bases in Finland."

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of neighboring Sweden, which like Finland is applying for NATO membership, has also announced that her country does not want permanent NATO bases or nuclear weapons on its territory.

The new development came after Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO following a Russian military offensive against Ukraine and despite Russian warnings against the US-led military alliance’s eastward expansion. All 30 NATO members should unanimously agree for the two historically neutral countries to join the alliance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said their potential membership in NATO poses no direct threat to his country, but Moscow will respond if the US-led alliance bolsters military infrastructure in the two Nordic states.

Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, has expressed opposition to Finnish and Swedish memberships. Ankara accuses Sweden, and to some extent Finland, of providing sanctuary to elements linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as well as the Gulen movement, which Turkey accuses of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt. Both groups are considered “terrorist” outfits by Turkey. The PKK is also on the “terrorist” lists of the US and the EU.