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Heidi Hautala believes the Green League should re-evaluate its position on Nato in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine. Heidi Hautala, a candidate for the Green League in the upcoming European Parliament elections, has opened the door for Finland's membership in Nato. “The Greens must recognise that a way to stop Russia and [President] Vladimir Putin must be found,” Hautala stressed during a meeting of the Green League in Helsinki on Sunday.

Officially, the Green League opposes membership in the defence alliance. “This position doesn't have to hold good forever, even if Finland is not facing a direct military threat,” insisted Hautala.

The Green League is set to discuss its position on Nato in its party conference in June.

Hautala on Sunday reported to her party comrades on the observations she made during a recent visit to the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which is under the control of separatists. “The Russian security agency has fully infiltrated Ukraine, and the takeover operations seem carefully planned out. They don't seem spontaneous.”

“At worst, the separatists will wait there for a new regime. If the Government of Ukraine loses its nerve, Russia is at the border prepared to step in,” cautioned Hautala.

Hautala also revealed that during the visit the delegation met with a member of the government of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, who admitted that the they have received support from Russia.

According to her, academic Johan Bäckman has similarly revealed that an embassy of the Donetsk People's Republic is to be established in Helsinki. “It sounds like a gross joke, but I know he's not acting on his own. I sincerely hope that Finnish foreign policy-makers are awake [to the situation].”

The crisis in Ukraine, the former cabinet minister estimated, compels Finland to re-evaluate the reasons for its abstinence from joining Nato.

“Are the reasons still valid? They are founded on the notion that we can maintain our neutral position between East and West. My question is how much leeway we have left. It's getting narrower by the day,” viewed Hautala.

Jyrki Iivonen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva