Finland welcomes NATO warships for drills

NATO members Estonia, Latvia and the Netherlands are set to hold mine clearing exercises with Finnish forces in the Baltic Sea Read Full Article at RT.com

Finland welcomes NATO warships for drills
26 Apr, 2022 02:50 HomeWorld News

Finland welcomes NATO warships for drills

The drills come as Helsinki mulls NATO membership

NATO members Latvia, Estonia and the Netherlands will hold joint naval exercises with Finland in the Baltic Sea, the Finnish military said, noting the drills will focus on “mine countermeasures.” 

statement, adding that the drills will include a Latvian mine-laying vessel and mine-sweepers from Estonia and the Netherlands.

“The main goal of the exercise is to search for and identify underwater objects,” said the Coastal Fleet's Chief of Staff, Commander Mikko Villikari. “In these exercises, we learn to work as part of a group that we do not regularly interact with. It helps to maintain international expertise.”

Two Katanpaa-class mine-hunters from Finland’s fleet will also take part in the training.

reports that both Finland and Sweden – historically neutral states – are moving ahead on plans to join the NATO bloc and could submit membership applications as early as next month. Leaders in both countries have stated that Russia’s attack on Ukraine has shifted their calculations in regards to the alliance, while NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has declared that they would be readily admitted.

READ MORE: NATO protection promised to Sweden before membership – media

Moscow, which shares an 830-mile (1,340km) border with Finland, has warned such a move could force it to “restore military balance” in the Baltic region, with former Russian president and current deputy chair of the Russian National Security Council Dmitry Medvedev saying the area may not remain “nuclear-free” should NATO absorb the two Nordic states.