Finland Prepares For Crisis Situation, Vigorously Denies Threat From Russia
The Finnish Defense Forces is preparing to inform its 900,000 military reservists of their role in the event of mobilization, all the while maintaining the communication has no connection to threats posed by Russia.
However, according to journalist Peter Iiskola, this is the first time a letter of this sort has even been sent out in Finland, Newsweek reports. Finland has a small army of around 16,000. In the event of war, this number can swell up to 230,000, drawing from former conscripts.
The announcement of the letter, which reservists between ages 20-60 will receive, follows on the heels of a joint declaration signed by Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland in early April to reaffirm defense cooperation among Nordic states. That declaration explicitly stated that Russia presents the greatest challenge to European security. (RELATED: Nordic Countries Join Together To Discourage Russian Aggression)
Finland does not belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and public opinion polls continue to display opposition to the idea of joining the alliance.
Still, Finland is firm in denying the letter has anything to do with Russia.
“The sending out of these letters to our reservists has no connection to the security situation around Finland,” Finnish Defense Forces director of communications Mika Kalliomaa told Newsweek. “We are simply keeping ties with our reservists and asking them what their role would be in an instance of war, and asking them if there is new knowledge we should know about. There is no link to any threat from Russia.”
Finland shares an 800-mile border with Russia, the longest in the European Union. The Kremlin has been testing the waters by sending aircraft into Finnish airspace—sometimes three times in a single week.
More recently, Finland’s navy detonated depth charges in an attempt to scare off a possible foreign submarine lurking in the waters off Helsinki.
The Finnish defense minister refused to speculate as to the source of the suspected submarine, but Nordic media quickly jumped to the conclusion that the Russians were involved.
“They haven’t said it was Russia but who else would it be?” Patrik Oksanen, political editor of Sweden’s Hudiksvalls Tidning newspaper, told Newsweek. “It’s Russia. It’s logical it was Russian.”
Other states close to Russia have taken similar precautions. Lithuania plans to reinstate the draft, and the Czech Republic is looking to follow suit. As of March of this year, public opinion in Poland supports conscription to the tune of 80 percent. This marks an 8 percent increase from polling conducted in November 2014.
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