Finland’s leaders in favor of applying for NATO membership

HELSINKI (AP) – Finland’s president and prime minister say they’re in favor of applying for NATO membership.

The announcement by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday paves the way for the alliance to expand amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

It means Finland is virtually certain to seek NATO membership though a few steps remain before the application process can begin.

Neighboring Sweden is expected to decide on joining NATO in coming days.