Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that Europe “would be in trouble without the United States” in remarks during her visit to Australia on Friday.
A reporter had asked Marin about China’s responsibility to “rein in” Russia, and Marin said China can play a part, but that Europe “shouldn’t only rely on that.”
“We should make sure that we are stronger,” Marin said. “And I’ll be brutally honest with you, Europe isn’t strong enough. We would be in trouble without the United States.”
Marin’s comments come as some current and incoming conservative members of Congress have questioned the amount of aid that the U.S. is providing to Ukraine to hold off Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country.
The Biden administration has maintained consistent funding for Ukraine since the war began in February, backed by overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, but the GOP has shown some signs of a growing split among party members about how much to financially support Ukraine.
Marin said the best way to keep Finland safe before Russia’s invasion was to have bilateral relations with the Russians and to be close partners with NATO. But she said that Finland’s priority changed “overnight” to security after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO in May after public opinion shifted greatly in favor of joining the alliance. Their applications have been approved by all but two members and are awaiting approval from Hungary and Turkey to officially join. They are expected to approve the applications next year.
Marin said Finnish officials have not seen any military action near Finland’s border with Russia but are prepared for different types of attacks, including cyberattacks and misinformation.
Finland still requires military service for men and keeps 280,000 service members during wartime, according to The Guardian.
“Our story after the wars, when we gained our independence, is a successful one,” Marin said. “We have to make sure that Ukrainians have that hope, that they will have that future.”