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Finland strengthens its military relations with Washington after Putin’s warning

Finland strengthens its military relations with Washington after Putin’s warning

Finland signed an agreement on Monday to boost its military cooperation with the United States, a day after Vladimir Putin announced Russian military reinforcements in response to the Scandinavian country joining NATO.

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The agreement, which formalizes more cities between Washington and Helsinki, is submitted by the Ministry of Defense of Finland as “a sign for the engagement of the United Nations for the defense of Finland and all of Europe.” from the north”.

Antti Hakkanen added: “We do not expect the United States to assume the defense of Finland.” He said during the signing of the agreement in the American capital alongside the head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinken: “But this agreement greatly improves our ability to work together in all situations.”

Finland, which repelled the Soviet invasion in the winter of 1939-1940, avoided joining NATO for decades for fear of antagonizing its giant neighbour. But relations between them have deteriorated significantly since February 2022, and the Russian attack in Ukraine prompted Finland, concerned about its security, to join NATO in April 2023.

On Sunday, Vladimir Putin accused the West of “dragging Finland into NATO” and stressed that this membership would create “problems” where “there are none.”

The Russian President also announced the establishment of a Russian military zone near Finland, while the two countries share a 1,340-kilometre border.

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The US Secretary of State said Finland “knows better than almost anyone else what is at stake for Ukraine.”

“In 1939, the Finns also faced a Russian invasion and proved that a free state could put up an incredibly strong resistance,” Antony Blinken said.

“Your story also reminds us of the importance of all of us continuing to support Ukraine,” he added.

Mr. Blinken and Finnish Foreign Minister Elena Valtonen renewed their support for Sweden’s accession to NATO, which launched its candidacy alongside Finland, but its accession process was momentarily delayed due to Turkey.