Finland’s military has sent letters to the country’s entire 900,000 strong reservist force outlining what each individual should do in the event of a “crisis situation,” Newsweek reports citing local Finnish media.
The potential mobilization of 900,000 people in Finland would be a massive undertaking. With a population of only 5.2 million citizens, conscription would extend to one sixth of the country’s entire population and would include citizens between the ages of 20 and 60.
Finish defence minister Carl Haglund has insisted in the Finnish press that the move has nothing to do with rising tensions in Europe over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine and aggressive Russian deployments in northern Europe. Instead, the move is simply intended to keep Finnish reservists informed of their potential duties.
“The aim of this isn’t to give out sort of message at all [to Russia],” Haglund said.
The timing is nevertheless notable. On April 28, the Finnish navy dropped six small depth charges against an underwater vessel suspected of being a Russian submarine within its territorial waters. The charges were not meant to damage the possible sub, but were instead intended to aid in the search for the vessel or force it to surface.
Earlier in April, Finland announced it would enhance military ties with the other Nordic countries due to concerns over Russia’s aggressive actions in the Baltic and the Arctic.
“Russia’s actions are the biggest challenge to the European security,” the defence ministers from the Nordic nations said in a joint declaration. “Russia’s propaganda and political manoeuvring are contributing to sowing discord between nations, and inside organisations like NATO and the EU.”
“There is increasing military and intelligence activity in the Baltics and in our northern areas,” the declaration said. “The Russian military is challenging us along our borders and there have been several border infringements in the Baltics.”
Russia and Finland share an 800-mile border. As part of its push to militarize the Arctic, Russia has reopened a military base only 30 miles outside of Finnish territory.
Since Finland is not a member of NATO, it would not be able to count on military assistance from the alliance in the event of an invasion.
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