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Russia Summons Finnish Ambassador Over New Military Cooperation Agreement with US

The agreement with the US allows for rapid military access and aid to Finland in the event of a conflict.

Russia has summoned the Finnish ambassador in Moscow following Finland’s signing of a new military cooperation agreement with the United States. The deal, signed on Monday, grants the US broad access to the area along Finland’s long border with Russia, prompting Moscow to announce that it will “take necessary measures to counter the aggressive decisions of Finland and its Nato allies.”

Finland, which joined Nato earlier this year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, accused Russia of directing migrants toward its territory in what it described as a “hybrid operation.” In response, Finland temporarily closed all its border crossings with Russia, a move that exacerbates the tensions between the two nations.

The military cooperation agreement with the US allows for rapid military access and aid to Finland in the event of a conflict, as well as joint training of forces. While Finland emphasised that it does not expect the United States to solely handle its defence, Defence Minister Antti Hakkanen highlighted that the agreement significantly enhances the ability for joint action in various situations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin previously accused Nato of dragging Finland into the alliance, leading to the creation of a new military district near Finland’s border. The Russian foreign ministry expressed its opposition to “Nato’s military buildup” near its borders, placing responsibility on Finland for transforming the region from one of good-neighbourliness to a potential confrontation zone.

Finland, historically maintaining friendly relations with the USSR during the Cold War, refrained from joining Western military alliances. However, concerns about Russia’s actions in Ukraine prompted Finland, along with Sweden, to seek Nato membership.

The situation underscores the complex dynamics between Russia and its neighbouring countries, especially those aligning with Western military alliances in response to perceived security threats. The diplomatic fallout and heightened tensions between Russia and Finland further complicate the geopolitical landscape in the region.

Kiki Garba

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