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Finland: Russia’s use of military force “cannot be excluded”

A SU-24 barrel-rolled above the US Warship Donald Cook in the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea on 13 April 2016. Photo: snapshot from video

The Government Report on Finnish Foreign and Security Policy published on 17 June 2016 mentions that Finland must take into account the possibility of Russian military attack. “The security policy environment of Finland, a member of the western community, has transformed. A more tense security situation in Europe and the Baltic Sea region will directly impact Finland. The use or threat of military force against Finland cannot be excluded,” it states.

The report notes that the security system in the neighborhood has changed during the past decades has been changed due to Russia’s actions which challenged the essence of the security regime based on principles of shared security, arms reduction treaties, and confidence-building measures.

“The West and Russia have very different opinions on how to restore stability to the security regime,” it states, noting that the security of Europe and the Baltic Sea region has deteriorated by Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and actions to create the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The report also notes that Russia uses a wide range of military and non-military instruments in advancing its interests, including increased tension and military activity in the Baltic Sea region, and by increasing its military footprint and activity in the Arctic.

The authors of the report see that the implementation of the Minsk Agreement is vital for better EU-Russia relations and state that Russia’s isolation does not serve anyone’s interests. However,  “the precondition for such improvement is, however, that Russia comply with international law and its other international obligations,” they conclude.

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