The Majority Of Finns Want To Join NATO

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A majority of Finns are in favor of joining Nato for the first time in the Nordic country’s history as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushes the once neutral state and its neighbor Sweden towards the military alliance.

A poll for Finland’s state broadcaster Yle showed 53 percent of Finns supported joining Nato, 28 percent were against and 19 percent did not know. The last time Yle conducted such a poll in 2017 only 19 percent were in favor of joining while 53 percent were against.

Former Finnish prime minister Alex Stubb called it a “historic shift”. It follows a similar rise in support for Nato membership in Sweden.

Both Finland and Sweden are militarily non-aligned but have not been neutral since joining the EU and have the closest partnerships with Nato of any non-member countries. Nato recently said it would share its intelligence on Ukraine with them, in addition to conducting exercises and exchanging information before Russia’s invasion.

The Yle opinion poll published on Monday showed the majority in favor of Nato membership increased in the event that either the country’s political leadership advocated it or if Sweden joined the alliance. There is at present no political majority in either country in favor of membership. But even prominent Finnish opponents of joining Nato concede they could be won over if geopolitical tensions continued to build in the region.

Analysts said the increase in support for Nato in Finland and Sweden represented one of the main negative consequences for Russian president Vladimir Putin over his war against Ukraine. “The unthinkable might start to become thinkable,” former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt said about the Finnish poll.