Deeper Russia Ties Is Georgia War Lesson, Finnish Premier Says

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by bhramos, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

    Mar 21, 2009
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    Deeper Russia Ties Is Georgia War Lesson, Finnish Premier Says

    By Leon Mangasarian and Kati Pohjanpalo

    Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Finland has no plans to join NATO and believes the main lesson of last year’s Russia-Georgia war is the need for closer ties to Russia, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said.

    “The conclusion in Finland was that we have to deepen our relations to Russia and that we have to try in all ways to bind Russia better and better to Europe,” Vanhanen said today in an interview at his office in Helsinki. “So, more cooperation with Russia; that was the conclusion we made after the Georgia war.”

    Russia routed Georgia’s army in the five-day war over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia in August 2008. It later recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway region, as independent states, a move condemned by the U.S. and many European Union nations. Russia has deployed troops in both territories and agreed to defend their borders.

    Finland, an EU member which borders Russia, doesn’t belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Opinion polls show a majority of Finns favor maintaining the country’s military non- alignment, adhered to since World War II.

    “We have no current plans to join NATO,” Vanhanen said, adding: “We have our own defense forces.”

    The Finnish Defense Force has 66,000 people including civilians, conscripts and reservists and could boost its “maximum wartime strength” to 350,000 in an emergency, according to the armed forces’ Web site.

    Russian War Games

    Russia, together with ally Belarus, last month conducted land, air and sea maneuvers dubbed “Zapad 2009,” or “West 2009,” to test command coordination in the event of an invasion from Poland and the Baltic nations, Russian state broadcaster Vesti-24 reported Sept. 27. Parallel war games took place at nine Russian sites under the code name “Ladoga 2009,” after the lake near Russia’s border with Finland.

    Vanhanen said he welcomed the membership of the Baltic states -- which are former Soviet republics -- in NATO.

    “We have thought that membership of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in NATO has actually strengthened the stability of the Baltic Sea because those areas, in a military way, they were almost empty in the years before the NATO membership,” he said.

    Deeper Russia Ties Is Georgia War Lesson, Finnish Premier Says -
  3. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

    Jul 1, 2009
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    NATO in the Baltic states has strengthened the region? yxaxa

    Please... we could conquer the Baltics before NATO could even hope to respond. The three of those countries are so cheap they are aguing about buying one joint squadron of F-16s.

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