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Finnish intel: Russian bases near border Stripped for Ukraine War

Satellite imagery corroborates Finnish intelligence reports that Russian military bases near the Finnish border, with equipment and troops, redeployed for the war in Ukraine.
finnish border with russia
The satellite images show “before” and “after” the redeployment of Russian troops and equipment from the Finnish border to Ukraine. Credit: Yle
Finnish intel: Russian bases near border Stripped for Ukraine War

Russian bases near the Finnish border are almost empty, according to the Finnish media outlet Yle.

The news outlet reported on 19 June, citing an intelligence source, that Russia has redeployed personnel and equipment to the war against Ukraine.

Russia had threatened Finland over its intentions to join NATO even before Helsinki had definitively decided to apply, with the Russian Foreign Ministry promising a response of a “military-technical and other nature.”

Yle reports that despite Russia intimidating Finland with “consequences” if it joined NATO and promising to increase its military presence near the border, for now, the military bases in this region are emptier than a year ago.

“On average, 80% of the equipment and soldiers have been redeployed to the war against Ukraine,” the broadcaster’s intelligence source reports.

The share of withdrawn military personnel and equipment varies by base, depending on the season and training exercises. The media reports that only instructors and recruits remain at the bases—contract soldiers have been sent to fight.

According to the report, Russia is “sweeping up” equipment and military personnel not only from its bases near the Finnish borders but across its vast territory, except for the Moscow region.

Yle has also obtained satellite images of Russian bases that confirm certain changes. At the Russian military base near Petrozavodsk, as of May 2024, compared to June 2023, dozens of pieces of equipment deployed there have disappeared.

russian military base near finish border
Google Earth / Maxar Technologies, 18 June 2023. Credit: Yle
the empty russian military base near finland
Planet Labs PBC, 27 May 2024. Credit: Yle

At the same time, a new hangar appeared, which was not there before, and equipment was sitting out in the open. Images from Kaukjarvi on the Karelian Isthmus (renamed Kamyanka by the Russians) show that numerous tents for housing personnel are currently standing there – likely mobilized or conscripts undergoing basic training.

The intelligence source says that, at the same time, the air defense systems around St. Petersburg “remain quite strong.”

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