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Finland Should Remain Calm Amid Trump's NATO Rhetoric: President

13.02.2024 04:12

Nordic country must focus on its NATO membership despite former US president’s warning, says president elect Alexander Stubb.

Finland's president-elect Alexander Stubb said Monday that his country should stay calm despite former US President Donald Trump suggesting last week that America would not protect NATO members against a Russian attack unless they spend enough on defense, local media reported.

The Nordic country should remain focused on its NATO membership following Trump's strong comments in which he warned NATO allies that he would "encourage" Russia to attack any member of the alliance that does not meet the target of spending 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, Stubb said at a press conference.

"I think at this stage, it is best to remain calm and focus on building our NATO membership," said Stubb, adding US election campaigns are "very different from Finnish elections, and the rhetoric used is quite a lot stronger."

Trump, who remains the Republican front-runner in the 2024 US presidential race, was widely criticized for his remarks, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saying this "undermines all of our security."

Finland became the 31st member of NATO last April, ending decades of military non-alignment as the result of Russia's war on Ukraine.

Stubb, a pro-European and strong supporter of Ukraine, is due to take office on March 1 and will be replacing incumbent Sauli Niinisto, known for his role in maintaining close ties with Russia.

"Before Russia ends its war of aggression against Ukraine, it will be very difficult to have a relationship with Russia," said Stubb, who is known for his anti-Russian stance.

A former prime minister, Stubb became the country's 13th president after defeating former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in Sunday's election, which is widely seen as historically the most important following Finland's entry into NATO and its strong stance against Russia.

The country's accession into NATO prompted a sharp response from the Kremlin, with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing the West of 'dragging' Finland into the military alliance and creating a rift between Moscow and Helsinki.

In December, Finland closed its border with Russia, with Finnish authorities accusing Moscow of carrying out a "hybrid attack" and assisting undocumented migrants in crossing into the Nordic country, which Russia denied. -

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