President Sauli Niinistoe and Prime Minister Alexander Stubb decided to sign the pact on Aug. 22, according to a statement today. Closer ties with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have been under way since last year as part of a collaboration first envisioned in 2002. Finland will be free to decide the extent of its NATO cooperation on a case-by-case basis. Sweden is close to striking a similar accord, Defense Ministry spokesman Henrik Hedberg said today by text message.
Stubb criticized Russia yesterday for actions he said constituted a violation of international justice. “Russia did wrong,” he said in a speech in Helsinki. “We have seen enough of the justice of the strong on this continent.” Niinistoe, speaking at the same event, urged Europe to step up its focus on defense spending as relations with Russia deteriorate....
-bth: Putin is strengthening NATO as no other world leader can do.