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Finland grants rapid military access to U.S. on its territory

Finland grants rapid military access to U.S. on its territory Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The Finnish government has decided to sign an agreement with the United States for cooperation in the defense sector. It entails granting American military forces broad access through their territory, notably in the area near the border with Russia, according to Finland's government press service.

The general session of the Finnish government at today's meeting, December 14, decided to propose to the president to authorize either the Minister of Defense, Antti Häkkänen, or the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elina Valtonen, to sign this agreement in Washington on Monday, December 18. The document still needs to be approved by the Finnish Parliament.

According to the country's Foreign Minister, the signed defense agreement further strengthens the bilateral allied relations between Finland and the United States, ensuring cooperation in all security situations.

"The agreement is also significant at the regional level and contributes to Finland's participation in NATO's joint defense," Valtonen added.

Details of the defense agreement

The agreement includes:

  • Access for the U.S. military to agreed-upon facilities and territories in Finland and their use.
  • Placement of defense equipment, stocks, and materials.
  • Entry and movement of American aircraft, ships, and transport.

Security for U.S. forces and the areas they utilize. Finnish officials noted that the agreement with the U.S. aimed to provide rapid military access and assistance to the country in the event of conflict, as reported by The Guardian.

The document lists 15 facilities and territories in Finland that American military personnel will have unrestricted access to.

The agreement encompasses four airbases, a military port, and railway access to northern Finland, where the U.S. military has a storage area adjacent to the railway leading to the Russian border.

It's worth noting that a similar defense agreement was recently signed between the U.S. and Sweden, granting the American military access to 17 military bases in that country.

Additionally, from November 20 to December 1, international military naval exercises called Freezing Winds 23 took place in the Finnish Gulf and the Archipelago Sea. Finland led these exercises for the first time as a NATO member.