The Finnish President told Vladimir Putin his country will join NATO in a ‘direct and straightforward’ phone call this morning.
Sauli Niinistö said the conversation was ‘conducted without aggravations’ as both parties worked to ‘avoid tensions’.
The discussion came as Russia cut off electricity supplies to the country and a Putin lackey boasted that the Kremlin could destroy Finland in ‘ten seconds’.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö (pictured at a press conference last week) initiated the call
A readout from the Finnish President’s Office stated: ‘President Niinistö announced that Finland decides to seek NATO membership in the next few days.’
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and cyber-attacks on Finland and Sweden have ‘altered the security environment’ in Helsinki, Putin was told.
It wasn’t revealed how long the call went on or whether Niinisto had consulted other world leaders before speaking to Putin.
President Niinistö reportedly reminded the Kremlin leader that they agreed every independent nation maximise its security during their first meeting in 2012.
‘This is what is happening now, too’, Niinistö said.
Putin (pictured during a Security Council meeting on Friday) stayed calm, Helsinki reported
Finland will become the sixth NATO member to share a land border with Russian territory
‘By joining NATO Finland strengthens its own security and assumes its responsibility. It is not away from anyone else. Finland wants to take care of the practical questions arising from being a neighbour of Russia in a correct and professional manner.’
The phone call was initiated by Finland, Helsinki said.
President Niinistö commented: ‘The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important’
He repeated his concern about the human cost of the war in Ukraine and stressed the importance of a peace deal.
Putin ally and MP Aleksey Zhuravlyov had warned Russia’s Satan-2 nuke would destroy Finland in ‘ten seconds’ – and could reach the UK in just three minutes.
Boris Johnson (left) and President Niinistö at a press conference in Helsinki on Wednesday
Putin (pictured yesterday) is prompting frustration as his war in Ukraine continues to falter
The Duma defence committee deputy chairman fumed: ‘If Finland wants to join this bloc, then our goal is absolutely legitimate – to question the existence of this state. This is logical.’
Zhuravlyov’s wild threats signal frustrations at Putin’s faltering invasion of Ukraine – and ire at Finland’s NATO bid.
Russia cut off electricity supplies to Finland this morning.
The Nordic country imports ten per cent of its electricity from Russia and will not suffer power shortages, officials said.
Asked if Russia would now rebase nuclear weapons onto its border with Finland, Zhuravlyov said: ‘What for? We don’t need to.
‘We can hit with a Sarmat from Siberia, and even reach the UK.
‘And if we strike from Kaliningrad… the hypersonic’s reaching time is 200 seconds – so go ahead, guys.
‘On the Finnish border we will have not strategic weapons, but Kinzhal-class, one that will reach Finland in 20 seconds, or even 10 seconds.’
The news comes as Russia’s attempt to pivot its invasion to southern and eastern Ukraine continues to fail.
Putin’s forces initially hoped to take Kyiv and decapitate Ukraine’s leadership in an all-out war, but faltered amid rugged resistance and a spate of military failings.
Russian tanks were pictured yesterday sunk in the Donbas river after failing twice to cross the strategic point.
Putin lost a whole battalion trying to cross the river on May 8 after Ukraine discovered plans – and made a second attempt on Thursday.
It is just the latest humiliation for Putin’s army – once ranked second in the world – after commanders failed to capture the capital Kyiv, were beaten back from Mykolaiv by a rag-tag band of territorial defence troops and civilians, and got their Black Sea flagship Moskva sunk by Ukrainian missiles.
Commanders are now trying to seize control of the Donbas region – cynically claiming that was their true objective all along – but have so-far failed to make any significant breakthrough in almost a month of fighting, with Kyiv claiming Russia has suffered ‘colossal’ losses.
When Russia last tried to seize Finland… and failed
More than 80 years ago, the small Finland took on the might of the Soviet Union when dictator Joseph Stalin ordered an invasion after its government refused to give up substantial territory.
The Winter War of 1939-1940 – which began less than three months after the start of the Second World War – saw Finland’s forces use innovative tactics to defy Russia’s hopes for a quick, emphatic victory that could have landed Stalin control of the whole country.
Instead, Soviet troops – who numbered around one million – were fiercely resisted for nearly three months, with dramatic photos showing how vehicles and equipment had to be abandoned in the face of the opposition and freezing conditions.
In that time, Russia suffered more than 300,000 casualties – including 126,900 deaths – and lost up to 3,500 tanks and around 500 aircraft.
By comparison, Finland lost 25,900 men out of an original force of around 300,000.
Stories of Finnish heroics include that of a Finnish farmer who became the deadliest sniper in history after killing 505 Soviet troops.
In the fighting, Finland also pioneered the use of the improvised grenade the Molotov cocktail, which was named after the Soviet Union’s foreign minister.
Ultimately however, the sheer numerical superiority of the Soviet Union’s forces took its toll and Finland’s government was eventually forced to sign a peace agreement that forced them to give up around ten per cent of their territory.
Despite the defeat, Finland emerged with its sovereignty intact and its international reputation enhanced, whilst the Soviet Union was kicked out of the League of Nations and was condemned by other world leaders for the illegal invasion.
Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä emerged a hero after racking up the most sniper kills in the history of warfare.
Aged 33 when the war broke out, Häyhä quickly acquired a fearsome reputation, striking the enemy unseen and unheard from hidden positions up to 300 yards from his target.
Nicknamed The White Death, Häyhä was a prime target for the Soviets, who targeted him with mortars and heavy artillery to halt his killing spree, which once claimed 25 men in one day.
Finland then allied with Nazi Germany against the Soviets in what was known as the Continuation War in 1941, with Helsinki trying to retake its lost territories.
After a ceasefire was agreed in the Moscow Armistice in 1944, Finland was ordered to expel Nazi troops stationed in the country, prompting the Lapland War with Germany.
At the Paris Peace Treaty, Finland was classified as an ally with Nazi Germany and ordered to pay reparations.
The country then pursued a policy of neutrality, maintaining a free market economy and democracy despite enjoying a strong relationship with the Soviet Union.