Analyst: Russian Military Couldn't Handle Finland ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Russian paratroopers
Russian paratroopers Source: Photo: RIA Novosti/Scanpix

Kaarel Kaas, an analyst at the Center for Defense Studies, has his doubts about Russian military capability.

A recent study by the Finnish Defense Academy's strategic studies institute found that Russia has doubled the number of troops in its northwestern region in just a short period.

The study implied that the Baltics are defenseless against Russia, but Kaas told ETV that he doesn't believe that Russia would be capable of launching an offensive against Finland.

Certainly, Kaas said, expanding military capabilities is one of Russia's top priorities. "The size of the spending is astounding," he said.

Russia is bolstering its forces on the Chinese, northern Caucasian and Baltic borders. Still, that is not alarming for Kaas.

For one, he said, Russian military capability is growing in spurts; it is not comprehensive. "I don't believe that they will achieve a high technological level in upcoming years," said Kaas. “They can manage Georgia, and maybe other smaller territories such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but I underline that I don't see any direct military threat in the next few years.”

The authors of the Finnish study note that, after the 2010 merger of the Leningrad and Moscow military districts into a new Western Military District, the mass of the Russian armed forces shifted notably to the northwest, with the number of troops facing the Finnish border doubled in a short time, YLE reported.

The former Leningrad district bordered with Finland, Estonia and Latvia, while the Western district also flanks Russia's other two neighbors, Belarus and Ukraine.

The study also notes that Finland's peace-time combat readiness is relatively low and that the imbalance is growing, with the Russians expected to spend 500 billion euros to improve their defense capabilities through 2020.


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