Finland is wary of a possible Russian clash with NATO in the Baltic region
The Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) have come out with their first-ever Military Intelligence Review. It is a comprehensive document with due regard to the global security picture and legal caveats in the Finnish security apparatus.
The presumable goal of the document, however, is to highlight priorities, set or conform to lexicon and engage in subliminal strategic signaling.
The review designates Finland’s military operating environment or area of concern naturally as Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea region, where “freedom of navigation, security of supply and commerce” are paramount to Finland’s prosperity.
The bear looms large
As Finland’s largest neighbor and a potent military power, Russia occupies an important place in its strategic assessments. With a direct reference to Russia, the review expresses concerns about the ability and likelihood of states achieving their goals through military means in the Baltic Sea region.
The concern is in all probability a reference to Russia’s force posture and political rhetoric against the Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – as members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A conflict between Russia and NATO in the region would have ramifications on Finland’s security and prosperity because of geographical proximity to terrain and waters where hostilities might break out.
Bilaterally, the contemporary relationship between Finland and Russia is that of strategic restraint and avoiding direct antagonism, with some major exceptions. One such exception is the Finnish Security Intelligence Service, or SUPO (which is in charge of counterintelligence for Finland’s homeland security), calling Russia the paramount threat in its December 2019 report.
In 2018, there were raids by Finnish forces on Sakkiluoto, a southwestern Finnish island that according to reports has “nine piers and one helipad.” These facilities could plausibly be used for supporting gray-zone activities in and around Finland. Some believe such places could potentially serve as bases for shadowy agents of the Russian state who could use the facilities on these islands for asymmetric actions.
Read the full text at Asia Times