The exercises “Cold Response” led by Norway are taking place in northern Norway, and Swedish and Finnish personnel are participating in the exercise, despite the fact that none of the countries is a member of the defense alliance. 35,000 soldiers and other personnel from 28 countries are taking part in the exercises, 1,600 of whom are from Sweden. Many Finnish soldiers are part of the Swedish contingent.
– For Finland, it’s about building bilateral ties with Norway and practicing with Sweden, says Finnish SVT correspondent Lislott Lindstrom, who monitors the on-site exercise, at Morgonstudion
A Financial Times interview with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö drew a lot of attention this weekend when Niinistö claimed that Finland’s membership in NATO could make security policy risks in Europe escalate further. After that, Niinistö tried to explain, including on Twitter, that the newspaper had misinterpreted him.
– What he said he meant is that there are several security scenarios on which Finland bases its decision to join NATO or not. One is that the security policy situation in Europe is escalating further, says Lislott Lindstrom.
Opinion in Finland has fluctuated more positively toward NATO membership since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 62% want Finland to apply to join the defense alliance.
– Turned in principle overnight due to the uncertainty of the spread of the invasion of Ukraine among the Finns. An alternative to NATO, says Leslot Persson, would be a deep cooperation with Sweden and a bilateral defense agreement with the United States.