Washington, Helsinki Discuss US Military Staff on Finnish Soil

US Army Base in the NorthInternationalIndiaAfricaA newly-fledged NATO member, Finland recorded its highest year-on-year spike in defense spending since the 1960s and the height of the Cold War, underpinned by a number of costly procurements, including from the US.Finland and the US are discussing a new defense cooperation agreement, which would allow Washington to use the territory of the Nordic country and its military bases to store military gear and equipment.A round negotiations took place in Helsinki last week, Finnish media reported. According to Mikael Antella, deputy head of the political department of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, representatives of the two countries discussed the text of the agreement. Antella ventured that the document would allow Finland to strengthen its defense posture thanks to the possible deployment of US military equipment.As per Antella, the agreement would give the US the green light to deploy its troops in Finland, as well as invest in infrastructure from funds allocated to the Department of Defense by the US Congress. So far, however, the deployment of nuclear weapons has not been discussed.The Finnish media described the document as “in line with similar US agreements with other nations.” An analogous one is said to be under discussion with Finland’s neighbor Sweden, which plans to join the alliance as well.Finland officially joined NATO in April, nearly a year after it had first applied. Sweden filed a joint application as well, but its membership in the alliance has been complicated by demands issued by Turkiye and Hungary.MilitaryFinland’s Military Spending Soars to Cold War Levels as It Joins NATO25 April, 05:47 GMTFinland’s military expenditure has risen from 1.3 to 2 percent of its GDP within a matter of several years, indicating the most drastic military spending boost in the EU. The spending spree included a number of costly purchases, such as a new fleet of F-35 fighter jets. There are fears that NATO membership will result in even more spending.Deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Grushko said that Russia has already begun developing response measures to stop possible threats due to Finland’s accession into NATO. Finland shares the longest border with Russia in Europe at 1,300 kilometers.

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