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Finland to give up bases to US, deploy weapons in Scandinavia

Finland to give up bases to US, deploy weapons in Scandinavia

The Finnish parliament voted unanimously on Monday to allow the United States to use its bases on its territory.

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The bilateral agreement, concluded outside NATO, does not mean that Helsinki will hand over its bases to the United States, but rather that it will allow full American use of them.

Under the agreement, called the DCA, Finland opens 15 of its military bases for potential use by U.S. forces and allows the United States to station defense equipment, supplies, materials and troops in the country. The text does not mention, but does not prohibit, the acceptance of nuclear devices.

The two sides also agreed to create so-called “separate military zones” that only US personnel would have access to. This would make the US military presence in Finland permanent, unlike the occasional military exercises and training programs that preceded it.

Left-wing MP Anna Kontula called on lawmakers to reject the deal, but her proposal did not gain support.

During the parliamentary debate on Friday, practically complete agreement was reached on the terms of the treaty, although the two-thirds majority required by the Finnish Constitutional Court was not sufficient, as the treaty affects many aspects of the Finnish constitution.

According to Defense Minister Antti Häkkanen, a significant deepening of Finnish-US direct military relations is expected. Finland began negotiating a DCA with Washington after it applied for NATO membership in May 2022, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is worth noting that in addition to Finland, the United States has similar bilateral agreements with twenty other countries.

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The Finnish army is strong, but it is very close to Russia.

During the process of Finland's accession to the Atlantic, military writers often stated that this would create NATO's longest front line against Russia, and that the nearly 1,000-kilometer section would be penetrated or difficult to defend at several points.

There is a great risk that the Finnish bases, which are not yet protected by adequate air defence, will suffer such heavy losses in the first days of the offensive that it could be fatal for the defence plans of major cities as well. Helsinki is only 160 kilometres from the Russian border (i.e. 300 kilometres to Kiev), but Turku and Tampere are also close to the most dangerous area (240 and 300 kilometres respectively, and Helsinki can also be attacked from the sea, from St. Petersburg). Petersburg.

The latter has gained enormous weight since Russian President Vladimir Putin “reorganized” the previously failed military system and re-established the Northern Military District, which has proven to be more effective in recent months than the previous one.

They are preparing for the worst case scenario.

Finland By the end of the decade 64 F-35 fifth-generation fighter aircraft Want to buy?This is more than just a Polish development and comes close to Italy’s procurement plans. Finland is also constantly preparing financially for possible aggression, as evidenced by a 41 percent increase in its defense spending since 2020. By comparison, its closest partner, Sweden, is showing a 28 percent military increase.

At the same time, Sweden enjoys relative territorial security, since all its neighbors are already members of NATO, and it does not share a common border with Russia. Therefore, according to the plans, it makes sense for the Nordic countries to receive the most valuable assets of the Finnish armed forces, so to speak, and “distribute” them to the relatively more protected areas of Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

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This deployment is inevitable for Finland to have a multi-layered and effective air defence. Rapid Defence He has already pointed out Finland has purchased the Israeli David's Sling system instead of the more expensive American Patriot system, but this does not yet provide full protection against offensive ballistic missiles.

There has previously been an exchange of equipment between Norway and Denmark, already a member, and between Finland and Sweden, a candidate. On the other hand, NATO bureaucracy has hampered arms transfers between members and non-members in many respects. Since Finland and Sweden have become members of the Atlantic Alliance, this has become much easier and can be considered a wise decision. Especially considering the damage that Russia can do to military assets placed nearby.

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