Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said March 5 that Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometer-long border with Russia, should not rule out the possibility of seeking membership of NATO over the next four years.
Finland is one of the countries in the Baltic region to have reported incursions by Russian military aircraft that have stepped up activity recently.
Stubb told a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, "I think that it is very important that we -- during the span of the next government -- do not exclude the possibility of seeking NATO membership."
Finland faces a general election on April 19. An electoral term in Finland is four years.
He said if EU member Finland were to seek membership some day, it would have to have public endorsement.
A poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat newspaper on March 5 showed that support for joining NATO remained low at 27 percent, while 57 percent opposed membership.
Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa