Provocation before NATO votes
Russian Mi-17 crosses Finnish airspace
05/04/2022 8:41 pm
Finland and Sweden decide in a few days whether to join NATO. That would be a strategic defeat for the Kremlin. The apparent increase in border violations corresponds to a dangerous situation: Helsinki has reported a Russian military helicopter in its own airspace.
Amid discussions over Finland’s accession to NATO, a Russian military helicopter has entered Scandinavian airspace. A Defense Ministry spokesman in Helsinki said the Mi-17 helicopter had entered the air four to five kilometers in the afternoon, according to preliminary findings. In early April, a Russian military transport plane briefly entered Finnish airspace. Finland and Russia share a border of more than 1,300 km.
Like Sweden, Finland is currently considering joining NATO. Public opinion has changed significantly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The majority of the people and members of parliament are now in favor of joining the Western military alliance. President Sauli Niinistö wants to officially express his opinion on May 12. Russia has repeatedly warned both countries against the move, saying it would retaliate by developing nuclear weapons in the Baltic states. A few days ago, a Russian military plane made a brief intrusion into Swedish and Danish airspace.
“Access should be enabled soon”
Prime Minister Sanna Marin has said that if there is an application for membership – alone or with Sweden’s neighbors – the admission process should be completed “as soon as possible”. According to a Finnish media report, the government’s decision could be taken in a few days. In Sweden, the government and parliament are expected to present a defense policy outline on May 13 outlining views on NATO membership.
The leaders of the governments of Denmark, Norway and Iceland confirmed after a brief summit in Copenhagen that Finland and Sweden could count on the full support of their Nordic allies. “This is your decision and your decision only,” said Med Frederickson, Danish Prime Minister and host of the summit. “But be sure: if you decide to join, you will have the full support of Denmark.” One would support this “with all my heart”.
The Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Kar Store issued a similar statement saying that everything will be done to ensure that the admission process goes quickly and smoothly. Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir added: “We support the decision of Finland and Sweden.
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