Finland's foreign affairs committee chairman says use of Finnish territory for NATO operations unlikely
Estonia and Finland have shared concerns about Ukraine and the regular airspace violations in the Baltic Sea area by Russia, but Finland will not allow NATO forces to use its territory to launch operations for defending the Baltic states should arise, said Timo Soini, chair of the Finnish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
He did not specify whether that included an Article Five situation, but said only that he did not consider it possible any time soon, and that the current cooperation with NATO was always more the exception than the rule.
"We cooperate with NATO a lot within the peace partnership framework but we always negotiate on each case. I do not hold the use of the Finnish territory itself possible in the near future," he said.
Soini was in Estonia to discuss Ukraine and Russia with the Estonian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
"The situation is worrying and all developments must be observed closely. Our joint will must be strong. No one can back out on shared positions and shirk from the sanctions," Soini said.
He added that Finland is taking airspace violations by Russian aircraft very seriously. F-18 Hornet fighters, for example, have been moved to Helsinki-Vantaa airport to cut reaction times to detected violations. "Airspace violations have stopped now that the Hornets were moved closer to Helsinki," he said.