Home Europe Russia “Will Respond” To Finland Granting US Access To Its Military Bases

Russia “Will Respond” To Finland Granting US Access To Its Military Bases

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Russia will respond to Finland’s decision to grant the United States access to its military bases, a spokesman for Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

“I can only confirm that Russia will not leave unanswered the NATO military build-up on our border, which threatens the security of the Russian Federation,” Deputy Spokesman Andrei Nastasin said.

“We will also take the necessary measures, including of a military-technical nature, to counter aggressive decisions by Finland, as well as its NATO allies,” he added.

The Finnish parliament on Monday approved a defence cooperation agreement with the United States that was signed in December, 2023.

The agreement opens 15 Finnish military facilities for potential use by the United States. Finland became a NATO member in 2023.

It allows the deployment of American military personnel, weapons, ammunition and equipment in Finland.  The agreement covers the establishment of certain military zones that will be accessible only to US military personnel.

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The agreement on defence cooperation creates the basis for a permanent US military presence in the country.  Finland clearly hopes cooperation with the US will improve its own security situation.

Finland has a very long border with Russia, stretching for more than 1,300 km.  Concerns raised by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have deepened Finland’s insecurities vis a vis the border with Russia.

It led the Finnish government to apply for admission to NATO in Feb 2022, abandoning its long standing non-alignment. Finland also took care to ensure the defence agreement with the US was covered by its own national laws on nuclear weapons, whose import and transit is prohibited on Finnish territory.

Helsinki says the agreement is well grounded in sovereignty, legislation and obligations under international law.

The Russian response may have been anticipated but it remains to  be seen what the men in Moscow may do. Given that the war in Ukraine shows no sign of ending, and the Russian military may prefer to focus on that, any new adventure would seem unlikely.