On Friday leading daily Helsingin Sanomat reported that NATO members had discussed providing military support for non- NATO members Finland and Sweden, in the event of a possible crisis in the Baltic area.

 

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä as he addressed delegates at the Centre Party's annual congress in Seinäjoki

 

However Prime Minister Juha Sipilä told Yle that he was not familiar with any such discussion.

 

“I’m not familiar with the offer. The same principle remains in force, which is that Finland has no security guarantee or obligation according to [NATO’s] Article 5. I don’t know where this discussion began,” Sipilä commented while attending the Centre Party’s annual convention in Seinäjoki, western Finland.

 

Sipilä added that Finland’s current relationship with NATO is enough for the moment.

 

Sipilä’s comments echoed those of Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö, who also denied reports of possible NATO military assistance earlier on Friday.

 

Niinistö described the claims as speculation and wishful thinking and said that the matter had not come up for discussion at a recent meeting of the government’s foreign and security policy committee.

 

“Finland is not a NATO member and will not be able to engage in discussions by NATO countries in their meetings. Of course as Defence Minister I will participate in a meeting of NATO defence ministers next week. I have also attended some previous meetings, but as far as I know there has been no agreement on defence planning or on military action on behalf of countries that do not belong to Article 5,” Niinistö added.

 

The minister speculated that the rumours emerged following NATO’s BALTOPS military exercises that took place last week, which involved a heavy presence of NATO troops and a first-time landing on Finnish soil.

 

 

 

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