Finland NATO accession to spur ambitions to militarize Arctic: Russia
Russian Deputy FM says due to Finland's NATO accession, the military alliance will say it has a vulnerability of 1,200 kilometers with Russia.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko considered that Finland's accession to NATO and its location in northern Europe will "spur" the US-led military alliance's ambitions to militarize the Arctic.
"After Finland joins NATO, they will say that NATO has a vulnerability of 1,200 kilometers with a country that they have declared a direct threat to the alliance, so it is necessary to deploy American forces there, build foreign bases, place weapons depots, and increase military activity," Grushko told RTRN TV channel.
"Since Finland is located in the north of Europe, this will spur NATO's ambitions to militarize the Arctic," the Russian diplomat pointed out.
Sweden and Finland submitted applications for NATO membership in May 2022. On March 31 this year, Finland's application was ratified by all 30 members of the alliance. On the other hand, Sweden's bid is still pending approval by Hungary and Turkey.
In late April, Finland recorded its highest year-on-year increase in defense spending since 1962.
The Nordic country's military spending increased from 1.3 to 2% of GDP in a matter of years, fueled by a number of costly purchases.
It also witnessed the most drastic spending increase in the EU (36%), owing to a number of costly purchases, including a new fleet of 64 F-35 fighter jets from US weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The 10-billion-euro procurement was billed as the single largest splurge in the Nordic country's history.
During the late Cold War, Finland spent about 1.9% of its GDP on defense, but that figure dropped in the following years, reaching 1.1% of GDP in 2001.
Only two years ago, Helsinki's defense spending accounted for only 1.3% of GDP. But, Finland's outgoing five-party government, led by the Social Democrats, agreed to increase defense spending by more than 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) last year, citing the war in Ukraine as justification.
In doing so, Finland significantly outperformed its fellow European nations, such as Lithuania, Sweden, and Poland, which saw the next largest increases in their defense budgets of 27%, 12%, and 11%, respectively.
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