The chairman of the committee said that the situation in the country has changed dramatically after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Finnish parliament’s Defense Committee supported the Scandinavian country’s desire to join NATO, saying that this would be the best solution to ensure the country’s security and a way to raise the cost of potential aggression from neighboring Russia.

Committee chairman Petteri Orpo, leader of the main opposition National Coalition party, said that the security situation in Finland has changed dramatically as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Orpo stressed that possible membership in NATO would be an exclusively defensive solution for Finland, a country with a population of 5.5 million people, which has the longest border with Russia among EU members.

“Finland should join NATO in order to maximize its own security and protect the country. It will not be directed against anyone,” Orpo told reporters.

Finland is expected to announce by the end of the month whether it will apply to join the military alliance.

Recent polls have shown that more than 70 percent of Finns support joining NATO, which is strikingly different from the level of support of 20-30 percent, which was regularly recorded in the last few decades until February 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine.