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HomeFinlandFinland Joining Nato Was 'Act of Peace,' Sanna Marin Tells UCLA Students

Finland Joining Nato Was ‘Act of Peace,’ Sanna Marin Tells UCLA Students


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Former Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said she supports Ukraine becoming a member of Nato as well as the EU.

She made the comments before a student audience at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on Wednesday. She was a guest at the institution’s Bernard Brodie Distinguished Lecture on the Conditions of Peace.

So far, Marin’s political career in Finland has been brief but eventful. In 2019, at the age of 34, she gained recognition as the youngest prime minister in Finnish history. Her coalition government remained intact amid the Covid crisis, the first year of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ascension of Finland as a member of Nato.

During Wednesday’s lecture event, Marin said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is proof that Russia is not acting sensibly and is the main reason why Finland joined the defence alliance after decades of non-alignment.

“The only border that Russia will not cross is Nato’s. That’s why Finland is now a member of Nato,” she said.

“Finland joining Nato was an act of peace,” she added.

Marin noted that the West could have prevented Russia’s broader invasion if it intervened in 2014 when Russia attacked the Crimean peninsula.

‘Show no weakness’

Ihmiset poseeravat kameralle sisällä.
Marin stands alongside UCLA students on Wednesday. Image: Johanna Juntunen / Yle

“We made a big mistake in 2014. There would not be war in Europe now, or at least war would be less likely, if we had acted differently then,” she said.

The former PM expressed her support for Ukraine becoming a member of both Nato and the European Union.

As far as the ongoing war, Marin said it was vital that the defeat of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is very clear. Otherwise, she said there would be a risk that Russia would look to other neighbouring countries to invade.

“Ukraine must win and regain its territories. I don’t think Putin should get another chance to save face when the war is over,” she said, later adding that Russia only respects power.

“We should be stronger and not show any kind of weakness,” she said.

Marin’s talk can be seen on YouTube.

UCLA has hosted the Bernard Brodie Distinguished Lecture on the Conditions of Peace since 1980. Past guests include former US President Jimmy Carter and former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Marin garnered the second-largest number of votes in Finland’s parliamentary elections last spring, but her governing party did not fare as well.

Several months after securing her seat as an opposition MP, Marin announced in September that she was stepping down to take a job as a strategic adviser at the UK-based Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. Reaction to Marin’s unexpected shift was mixed.

In July it was reported that Marin had signed a deal with the US-based speaking engagement firm Harry Walker Agency. Last month Variety magazine noted Marin had signed with the American talent management company Range Media Partners, reporting that the firm will help her “explore opportunities in media and entertainment.”

Source: Yle

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