- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Second Finnish Сitizens' Initiative on NATO Reaches Goal, as 80% of Finns See Russia as Threat

© AP Photo / Czarek SokolowskiA soldier of Finland
A soldier of Finland - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.03.2022
A second citizens' initiative on NATO has reached the required number of signatures in less than a week in Finland, under the pretext of the formally non-aligned Nordic country lacking security guarantees. Unlike the previous initiative, the current endeavour is not a legislative initiative, but a straightforward requirement.
A second citizens' initiative demanding that Finland apply for NATO membership has reached the 50,000 signatures needed and will move to parliament for debate.
The initiative demanding NATO accession was launched on 25 February and reached the 50,000 threshold in less than a week, national broadcaster Yle reported.
The initiative justifies the need for NATO membership on the grounds of the current situation in Europe, arguing that Finland lacks the necessary security guarantees. "Ultimately, it is a matter of securing our way of life through common defence and security guarantees", it says.
The initiative demands that the nation's parliament and Finland's president fulfill their constitutional obligations and safeguard fundamental human rights through international cooperation by applying for NATO membership.
A previous citizens' initiative, demanding a referendum on the issue, was launched on 21 February and also reached the necessary support in less than a week. Unlike the previous initiative, the current endeavour is not a legislative initiative, but a straightforward requirement.
The initiatives proposed amid the Russian special operation in Ukraine coincide with a marked change in Finns' attitudes toward Russia. A recent Yle poll revealed a strong majority of Finns were worried about the direction that Russian policy is taking, with some 79 percent of respondents considering Russia's current course a threat to Finland. In comparison, just 11 percent of respondents said that they were not worried, while 10 percent were unsure.
This is a significant change from a similar survey by pollster Taloustutkimus published at the beginning of the year, in which merely 15 percent identified Russia as a source of concern.
Despite their formal non-alignment for historic reasons, Finland and its western neighbour Sweden have been getting closer to NATO in recent years through joint drills and training activities, overseas missions, and military acquisitions from Washington. Inside both Nordic countries, there is a strong political push for joining NATO from top brass and numerous parties.
On 24 February, Russia's President Vladimir Putin launched a special military operation in Ukraine, responding to an appeal from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, which Russia had formally recognised earlier that week.
Moscow made it clear that it has no plans to conquer or occupy Ukraine and that the operation's goal is to protect civilians from genocide and defend the DPR and LPR from Kiev's aggression, as well as demilitarise and "de-Nazify" Ukraine.
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