HELSINKI, May 12 (CGTN) - Finnish leaders on Thursday announced their support for Finland to join the NATO military alliance.

In a joint statement, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said "Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay."

"NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance," the statement reads.

The statement said that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly, "within the next few days."