U.S. President Joe Biden is wrapping up his trip to Europe.
He arrived in Finland Wednesday night, and Thursday morning, the president spoke at a news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, where they both pledged an unwavering commitment to NATO and emphasized NATO’s strength and influence in standing up to Russia.
"As capable partners and committed democracies, both Finland and Sweden are going to add significantly to the strength, security, and unanimity of NATO, " President Biden said. "And a stronger NATO makes the entire world stronger. Peace and security in Europe is essential to U.S. security and peace."
After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Finland decided to abandon its longstanding policy of military nonalignment and actively pursue membership in the NATO alliance. During this trip, President Biden warmly welcomed Finland's new role and extended congratulations to President Niinistö.
"We've always been friends with our newest official ally, member of NATO," said President Biden.
For his part, Niinistö took the opportunity to reaffirm his support for Ukraine.
"We also had a discussion on our neighbor (Russia), and I think that we both share similar views," Niinistö told reporters. "We both see that we will continue support to Ukraine, which is defending not only herself but also all the values we represent in the Western world."
Finland shares more than an 830-mile border with Russia.
President Biden met with the leaders of other Nordic nations, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, and said the summit was "very productive."
Sweden also pursued membership in the NATO alliance and is poised to be admitted as NATO’s 32nd membercountry after it enhances cooperation with Turkey in its counterterrorism efforts.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
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