Kirby’s remarks got here after Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday formally endorsed the proposal for his or her nation’s NATO membership.
“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s safety. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the whole defence alliance,” the Finnish leaders mentioned in a joint assertion. “Finland should apply for NATO membership at once. We hope that the nationwide steps nonetheless wanted to make this determination will probably be taken quickly inside the subsequent few days.”
Along with Finland, Sweden’s leaders are also anticipated to announce assist for their very own nation’s NATO membership within the coming days. The 2 nations could submit their membership bids collectively, maybe as quickly as Monday, forward of Niinistö’s scheduled journey to Sweden subsequent Tuesday.
On Thursday, Kirby described Finland’s and Sweden’s armed forces as “trendy militaries” with “terrific capabilities,” including: “They might be small, however they’re highly effective.”
“They’re already kind of utilizing NATO-standard sort of gear and methods,” Kirby mentioned. “And so integrating them into the alliance wouldn’t be very tough in any respect. The truth is, I imply, we routinely function and practice with the Finns and with the Swedes. So interoperability is simply not going to be a problem.”