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Finland’s President Tells Putin His Country Will Apply to Join NATO

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Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Saturday that the country plans to apply for NATO membership in the next few days. 

In a release, Niinisto’s office said that he had stressed how Russian demands late last year aiming at preventing countries from joining NATO had “altered the security environment of Finland.”

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“The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations,” Niinisto said in a statement. “Avoiding tensions was considered important.” 

The Kremlin’s press service said in a statement that Putin responded that Finland’s abandonment “of its traditional policy of military neutrality would be an error since there are no threats to Finland’s security.”

“Such a change in the country’s foreign policy could negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations, which had been built in the spirit of

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