Official Helsinki is in a hurry to prove that after joining NATO it is ready for a sharp confrontation with Russia.
The speed of the seemingly calm Finns to rush into the NATO abyss is striking. Since joining the alliance, which occurred a little more than a month ago, on April 4, Helsinki has been remarkably active, prioritizing contacts with the United States.
It turned out that the preparation of an agreement with the United States on strengthening defense cooperation is almost complete. On the Finnish side, the negotiations are led by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikael Antell. A couple of days ago, he said that another round of consultations took place in Helsinki at the end of April.
"Most importantly, the agreement provides seamless cooperation with the U.S. in all areas of security and at the same time in a short time frame," Antell said.
The project provides for the deployment of American military bases on Finnish territory. It is also about American investments in the defense infrastructure of the Land of a Thousand Lakes at the expense of funds allocated by Congress to the Pentagon. In particular, it is planned to build a maintenance station for F-35 fighters. It is known that last year, Finland closed a deal on the purchase of 64 such machines to the amount of 9.4 billion dollars. They should replace the fleet of outdated multipurpose F-18 Hornet fighters. By the way, President Zelensky, who recently visited Helsinki, has already opened his mouth for these planes. But the Chukhna people are not ready to share this equipment with Kiev yet.
There is one point of principle in the draft that rules out the transfer of U.S. nuclear weapons to Finnish territory. There is a contradiction here. Finland, which has become the 31st member of the alliance, is in principle obliged to accept U.S. tactical nuclear weapons if such a decision is made along NATO lines.
Helsinki sees no contradiction in the fact that a bilateral agreement is being prepared with the United States, not with NATO. The Americans, by the way, are now preparing similar agreements with Denmark and Sweden, which have not yet been accepted into the alliance.
The deal with Finland will only come into effect after parliamentary approval. Difficulties could arise. Although Finns overwhelmingly supported NATO membership, there is no unanimity on the issue of the presence of foreign troops.
According to polls, only 39% of respondents approve of American and NATO bases in their country.
According to the Helsinki Sanomat newspaper, the U.S.-Finnish talks are expected to last until early 2024.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia considers Finland's plans to sign an agreement with the United States allowing it to host American military bases on Finnish territory to be evidence that Suomi is finally losing its sovereignty.
"We confirm that the Russian Federation will be forced to take retaliatory measures of both a military and technical and other nature to curb threats to our national security arising in this connection," she said.
The fact that negotiations have not yet been completed does not prevent the Americans from methodically seizing new territories.
Thus, in preparation for the Arrow 23 exercise, the Pentagon began to move military equipment to Finland. It has already arrived at the US base in Estonia. Then the equipment and the personnel will be sent from Tallinn to Helsinki by ferry. We are talking about an armored combined arms battalion, equipped with Abrams tanks and Bradley BMPs.
At the beginning of May a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane made its second flight along the Russian-Finnish border. It entered Finnish airspace over the Gulf of Finland from the Baltic side. Near Utsjoki (this is a municipality in the North of Finland in Lapland Province) the aircraft turned back. I should note that the total length of the Russian-Finnish border is 1,271 kilometers.
The Finns have become a little crazy: for example, the construction of a wall on the border with Murmansk Oblast near the Salla checkpoint has begun. There are plans to build a three-meter barbed-wire fence. According to the authorities, this is necessary not for protection from "a hypothetical invasion of the Russians", but to prevent the mass flow of migrants. Preparatory work is underway at the second site, near the Svetlogorsk checkpoint near Vyborg.
Helsinki has sharply raised the issue of the relevance of the agreement with Russia on the demilitarization of the Aland Islands. Alliance experts believe that the archipelago is important for NATO as a bridgehead to control the Baltic Sea.
The Chukhna people got so bold that on the night of May 1 they vandalized the Russian consulate in Mariehamn (the capital of the Aland Islands). A mailbox was damaged, and a beer bottle broke the window glass of the diplomatic mission. After a note from Russian Foreign Ministry, local police launched an investigation. The perpetrators have not yet been identified.
Another blatant fact has also become public. A few days ago it was announced that the FSB had managed to prevent a terrorist attack against one of the heads of the Zaporozhskaya NPP. Two Ukrainian citizens were detained. An explosive device, as well as weapons and ammunition, were seized from them. Their actions were coordinated by Ukrainian military intelligence directly and through an agent – 54-year-old Yulia Tkachuk, who lives (where would you think?) in previously peaceful and tranquil Finland.
...Russia, unfortunately, is already being forced to take retaliatory measures. "In the context of Finland's accession to NATO, air defense troops are working on the protection of the state border in the northwest of the country in accordance with the increased level of threats," said Andrei Demin, commander of air defense forces and deputy commander of the Russian Air and Space Forces.
Well, that's a start.