Finnish general: Russia hasn’t increased military presence along border (5)
Finland’s chief of defense Lieutenant General Jarmo Lindberg said in an interview with daily Eesti Päevaleht that Russia hadn’t increased its forces positioned along the countries’ common border.
Lindberg said that in terms of stationing troops along the Finnish border, the Russians had moved back to Cold War patterns, with a base and a brigade in Alakurtti, about 90 km (56 miles) from the Finnish town of Salla.
“They’ve brought some troops back there, and this has been discussed in the Finnish media quite a bit,” Lindberg said.
Along the 1300-km (807-mile) border to Russia, the other side hadn’t markedly increased its military presence, the general added.
He also pointed out that while Russia had troops in the area of St. Petersburg and on the Kola Peninsula in the North, there wasn’t too much between them except for a few airfields. Looking at the overall length of the border, there was really just a single base and brigade. “In fact they haven’t brought back a full brigade even,” Lindberg said.
Finland is a member state of the European Union, but not a member of NATO. Thanks to its total defense military policy and national service, it has a wartime capability of 230,000 troops, and its people’s willingness to defend the country is regularly among the highest in Europe.
According to surveys, 75% of Finns support national service, and 82% say they would defend the country in the case of an attack.