Halonen compares Baltics joining NATO to belonging to Soviet Union
In a recent interview with Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), former Finnish President Tarja Halonen compared the Baltic countries' accession to NATO in 2004 to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania belonging to the Soviet Union.
"They were used to being part of a collective security system during the Soviet era," Halonen told Yle (link in Finnish) on Thursday, commenting on the Baltics joining the Western defense alliance in March 2004.
The Baltic countries were occupied by the Soviet Union, and many free countries, including the United States and Great Britain never acknowledged their annexation into the USSR.
Small countries that had belonged to the Soviet Union had a difficult time independently developing their own credible defense, the former Finnish president said.
She declined to indicate what her position is in current discussions in Finland regarding whether or not they should join NATO as well.
Regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom she has met numerous times, Halonen said that it is not appropriate for a former president to analyze the characteristics, qualities or actions of other countries' leaders.
"I have said that the attack on Ukraine was wrong, and that it is against international law," she added.
On the subject of sanctions imposed on Russia, the former Finnish head of state warned that isolating Russia from the rest of the world may lead to unexpected consequences.
Now it is a matter of how to exit the current situation created surrounding Russia.
Tarja Halonen served as the president of Finland from 2000-2012.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla