NATO applicant clarifies stance on nuclear weapons
Finland does not intend to station nuclear weapons on its territory if it becomes a NATO member, President Sauli Niinisto insisted on Monday, adding that Helsinki had not received any offers of this nature.
His statement comes after Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin refused to rule out hosting nukes in the future.
Speaking at the opening of a course organized by the National Defense Training Association, Niinisto described recent talks of nuclear weapons that have flared up nationally as “a dangerous development.”
“Let me now state clearly: While we do not define restrictions on our NATO membership, Finland has no intention whatsoever to place nuclear weapons on its territory,” he stressed, adding that there were “no signs” of any country approaching Helsinki with such a proposal.
At the same time, Niinisto noted that nuclear weapons are a cornerstone of NATO’s deterrence, which serve as a means of prevention, rather than an end in themselves. He also stated that it is impossible to win in a nuclear war, and one should never be fought.
Asked when Finland might officially join NATO, he said the situation looked somewhat better than a few weeks ago, but was no more specific, saying his country will become a full-fledged member “within a reasonable time.”
He also noted that while Türkiye has been reluctant to ratify Sweden and Finland’s membership bids, Ankara’s criticism had more to do with Stockholm’s actions than those of Helsinki. Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara was ready to greenlight Finland’s entry into NATO but was not prepared to do the same for Sweden.
However, Erdogan said “Finland is not a country where terrorists are roaming freely,” while Sweden is “a place where terror is rampant,” apparently referring to the presence of Kurdish groups who are outlawed in Türkiye.
Niinisto also commented on the Ukraine conflict, noting that there is no end in sight for the hostilities, as neither party wants to compromise. While he denounced Russia’s military operation, the Finnish president welcomed attempts by several European leaders to maintain contacts with Moscow.
“This is aimed at nothing more than stopping the killing. I think it’s a worthy goal,” Niinisto stated.
His remarks come after Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin warned last month that NATO could establish permanent bases or deploy nuclear weapons on the nation’s territory once it joins the alliance. At the same time, she described such a scenario as an unlikely one.