Finland is reinforcing defenses against Russia

EPA/MARCIN BIELECKI POLAND OUT

A US Infantry Bradley armoured vehicle is used in the Saber Strike-15 military exercise at the Drawsko pomorskie military range in Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland, 19 June 2015. The Saber Strike programme facilitates cooperation between Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, the United States and participating nations from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Portugal and Slovenia to improve joint operational capabilities in a variety of missions, and prepares the participating nations and units to support multinational contingency operations around the world.

Finlandization may mean nothing in the near future


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On Monday, the Finnish Armed Forces announced they were adding quick infantry response units to bolster the country’s defense following Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. Finland will be increasing its defense budget and broadening the scope of its reservist recruitment and training.

These units will be made up from career officers and soldiers, as well as troops drawn from Special Forces units, retrained reservists and conscripts. The objective of these infantry units will be to rapidly deploy along the country’s 833-mile border with Russia in the event of an attack. Finlands military doctrine focuses on inflicting heavy casualties, exploiting the densely forested terrain along the border with Russia. The Air Force and Navy already have similar rapid-response capability.

The transformed security situation in the Nordic and Baltic regions is leading Finland to spend more on military preparations. To this end, the Finnish government has reached a provisional agreement with opposition parties to increase the defense budget in 2016-2020. Meanwhile, bipartisan support is rising for the possibility of joining NATO. In August 2014, Finland and Sweden signed a pact with NATO that allows NATO to provide the two nations with military assistance in emergency cases.

Traditionally, Finland is a neutral country and has close economic relationship with Russi. In fact, the economic crisis in Russia has made the Finnish economy suffer profoundly. However, Russia’s annexation of Crimea has raised concerns in Finnish public opinion. In response to these raising concerns, the government is stepping up consultation with key Finnish companies that are part of te state-industrial-service wartime partnership that underscores Finland’s Total Defense strategy.

Currently, the Finnish Armed Forces have a 12,000 troops force and can mobilize 230,000 from a conscript-centered armed force within one to four weeks.

Russia warned Finland not to join NATO. Helsinki is wondering what is the long term trend, following Crimea.

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