Twitter / @DefenceFinland
The Minister of defence of the USA James Mattis on Tuesday, March 21, held talks with his Finnish counterpart Jussi Niinistö. At a meeting in the Pentagon, the sides discussed a number of issues, including the “Russian aggression”, the relationship of Helsinki with NATO and bilateral cooperation in the field of security. This was reported on the website of the American defense Department.
Mattis, in his introductory remarks noted that the Northern location of Finland and its history will help Washington “to clarify its position, and to deepen the understanding of the situation which presents a challenge to stability.”
The Pentagon chief also thanked Niinisto for his country’s participation in the fight against international terrorist organization “Islamic state” (IG, is prohibited in Russia), support to NATO-led operations and for the assistance of the United Nations.
During the meeting, the Ministers “have identified areas for further deepening and strengthening long-standing partnerships in the security sphere”. They also “exchanged ideas about how to maintain the combat readiness of troops in the face of reduced funding”. Additionally, Mattis and Niinistö said “the benefits of cooperation in matters of defence, especially in the Arctic.”
On 17 February the government of Finland has announced a long-term plan of development of the armed forces of the country for the next 10 years. According to the document, the number of troops in wartime is expected to increase to 280 thousand people, will be modernized Navy and air force. According to the Minister of defense Jussi Niinistö, the emphasis in defence policy will be placed on the development of ground forces, and especially of the rapid reaction force. Funding will be increased by 150 million euros per year.
In the government of Finland emphasized that Russia poses no immediate threat to the country, and the Russian leadership gives no evidence of desire to interfere in the Affairs of Finland.