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Finnish Forces Conduct First NATO Deployment

by | Jun 11, 2024

Finnish Forces Conduct First NATO Deployment

by | Jun 11, 2024

continuing promise 2011

110606-N-TU221-408 PACIFIC OCEAN (June 6, 2011) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are currently underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza/Released)

For the first time since joining the alliance last year, Finland has deployed its fighter jets to another NATO nation. When Helsinki joined the bloc, it ended a decades-long policy of neutrality and doubled the length of the border between NATO and Russia. 

On Tuesday, seven Finnish F-18s joined Romanian and British fighter jets in Romania for operations. “I’m sure that during this enhanced air policing air shielding mission our integration into NATO will take a big leap forward,” Johan Anttila, commander of Finland’s Karelia Air Wing, told soldiers on the tarmac at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base. “We as a team will have learned a lot and all this will boost NATO deterrence and defense.”

The US and its allies have touted NATO expansion to Finland and Sweden as a consequence of Russia’s war in Ukraine. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has downplayed the importance of the Nordic states joining the bloc, and explained Moscow would not have a military response unless Stockholm and Helsinki host NATO weapons.  

It appears that the bloc is planning to redeploy its military forces to the Nordic states. The US signed a pact with Finland that gave American soldiers access to 15 Finnish bases. Additionally, a top Swedish official said his country was open to hosting nuclear weapons. 

Russia has warned that expanding NATO’s presence in Finland and Sweden will increase tensions. “This will certainly lead to tension. We can only regret this,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “We had excellent relations with Finland. No one threatened anyone, there were no problems or complaints against each other. No one infringed on anyone’s interests, there was mutual respect.”

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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