Minister of Defense of Finland Antti Kaikkonen believes that the Scandinavian country fully meets the criteria for NATO membership and can become a full member of the alliance by the end of this year.
He said this during a speech in Helsinki on Monday, according to the Ukrainian editorial board of Yle.
"Of course, we will do everything possible to make it happen as soon as possible," Kaikkonen added.
At the moment, Finland participates in NATO activities as a member-helpmaker.
In his words, the future membership of Finland in NATO and the integration of national defense as part of the joint defense of NATO is the biggest change in the defense of Finland since the Second World War.
Kaikkonen believes that thanks to the long-standing cooperation, the military integrity of the Finnish defense forces with NATO is now at a high level. The two sides will decide on technical details, as well as develop readiness for joint training.
"As a member of the Alliance, Finland joins the NATO-wide anti-missile and anti-aircraft defense system, takes part in the exchange of information on the situation in airspace and at sea, as well as in the in-depth cooperation in the intelligence sector," Kaikkonen said.
In addition, according to him, in the future Finland will take an active part in cooperation with NATO to strengthen the preparedness of the civilian population.
President of Finland Sauli Niiniste believes that the process of ratification of his country's accession protocol to NATO is proceeding faster than expected - nearly two thirds of the alliance members have already done so.
According to the president of Finland, the fact that the U.S. quickly approved Finland's application for membership in the pan-Atlantic alliance means Washington's full support for the country's membership in NATO.
The admission of both countries to the Alliance at the Madrid summit in February was still under a veto by Turkey, which has now withdrawn it, but not residually, and continues to make requests to Helsinki and Stockholm.
Turkey has not yet ratified the protocols for the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO.