General Timo Kivinen said Finland has prepared for decades for a Russian attack and would put up stiff resistance if it happened. He added a crucial factor is that Finns would be motivated to fight.
Finland has prepared for decades for a Russian attack and would put up stiff resistance should one occur, its armed forces chief said.
The Nordic country has built up a substantial armoury. But aside from the military hardware, the General said, a crucial factor is that Finns would be motivated to fight.
“The most important line of defence is between one’s ears, as the war in Ukraine proves at the moment,” Kivinen said in an interview. The Trumpet Gathered
Finland fought two wars in the 1940s against its eastern neighbour, with which it shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border.
Finland was once a non-aligned country, it is now applying to join the NATO military alliance over concerns that Russia could invade as it did Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Since World War Two, Helsinki has kept up a high level of military preparedness.
“We have systematically developed our military defence precisely for this type of warfare that is being waged there (in Ukraine), with a massive use of firepower, armoured forces and also airforces,” Kivinen said.
“Ukraine has been a tough bite to chew (for Russia) and so would be Finland.”
The country has also built one of Europe’s strongest artilleries and has stocked up on cruise missiles with a range of up to 370 km (230 miles). It spends 2% of its GDP on defense, a level higher than many NATO countries.
It is ordering four new warships, as well as 64 F-35 fighter jets from US defense giant Lockheed Martin. It plans to order up to 2,000 drones, its own high altitude anti-aircraft equipment and is building barriers on its border with Russia.
82% of respondents in a May 18 poll by the defense ministry said they would be willing to participate in national defense if Finland was attacked.
The defence chief welcomed Finland’s decision to apply to join NATO.
NATO membership would allow Finland to boost its early warning capacity by being part of the alliance’s joint airspace control, Kivinen said.
Finland would also benefit from the deterrence of being part of an alliance in which an attack on one member is an attack on all its members, he added.
However, Kivinen said the main responsibility for Finland’s defence will still be borne by Finland.
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