Finland mulls allowing US troops – media

Newly joined NATO member Finland is negotiating US troop deployments on its soil, according to foreign affairs official

Finland mulls allowing US troops – media

Finland mulls allowing US troops – media

American soldiers could soon be allowed to deploy to bases in the Russia-bordering country, senior diplomat claims

Helsinki is allegedly already in talks with Washington on a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) that would allow US troops to freely deploy to the newly admitted NATO state, a Finnish foreign-affairs official, Mikael Antell, has told the Helsingin Sanomat (HS) newspaper.

The outlet reported that Antell, who serves as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ deputy director-general for political affairs, is leading the bilateral negotiations and that the latest round of discussions took place in the Finnish capital last week. 

According to Antell, the agreement is meant to augment Finland’s current NATO membership, which it was granted in April, and to solidify the country’s deterrent and defense capabilities through US presence and advance stationing of defense equipment.

“The most important thing is that the agreement enables smooth cooperation with the United States in all security situations and also at short notice,” he told HS.

He explained that the DCA would enable the entry and stay of US troops, the advance storage of materials and possible infrastructure investments through funds granted to the Pentagon by the US congress.

Antell noted that while the agreement could create investment opportunities in Finland, it was “too early to speculate” on specific investments. He did, however, suggest that this could be something like the funding of a maintenance hub for F-35 fighter jets. 

The senior diplomat also stressed that the US is not currently aiming for a permanent presence in the country, but is seeking to operate on the principle of rotation, as in moving troops in and out for various durations.

According to the outlet, the official-level negotiations between Finland and the US are expected to run into next year, after which a draft of the agreement will undergo parliamentary considerations.

The US is currently pursuing similar DCAs with Denmark and Sweden. State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated back in January that such agreements would “deepen” Washington’s security partnership with these countries and “strengthen transatlantic security.”

Last May, Sweden and Finland renounced their longstanding neutrality and submitted bids to join the US-led military bloc, citing a perceived threat from Russia due to its military operation in Ukraine. 

Finland officially became the 31st member of NATO on April 4, while Sweden’s bid is still being held up by Türkiye and Hungary, who have objected to Stockholm’s membership over national security concerns.