Finland inched closer to joining NATO on Wednesday after its major parliamentary groups expressed support for some form of a military alliance as a response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Finnish Parliament on Wednesday began debating the possibility of Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, joining NATO.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin's Social Democrats stopped short of mentioning NATO in their addresses but nevertheless voiced support for an idea of a military alliance.
"It is evident that Russia's actions have brought Finland several steps closer to military alignment being necessary," Social Democrat group leader Antti Lindtman told fellow parliament members.
Finland is a close partner with NATO, but has maintained a militarily non-aligned status. Now, however, its defense and security needed strengthening, and a decision on whether to apply for NATO membership could be taken within weeks, Marin has said.
Russian politicians have said the only thing Finland would achieve by joining NATO is the destruction of their country.