Finland calls in ONE MILLION troops in the 'event of war' amid growing Russia aggression

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FINLAND has called upon nearly ONE MILLION troops to alert them to their roles "in the event of war" amid growing aggression from neighbouring Russia.

By Levi Winchester

PUBLISHED: 11:52, Fri, May 22, 2015 | UPDATED: 14:43, Fri, May 22, 2015


Border guard boats in Helsinki waters after the depth charges were fired


Letters from the Finnish Defence Forces have been dispatched to 900,000 former conscripts in the armed forces in the last few weeks, telling them where to report to in the event of hostilities.

While the letters did not detail any specific upcoming events or forces to be prepared against, their arrival has led to recipients assuming they are the result of rising tensions with Moscow.

Finland shares a 830-mile border with Russia, leading to fears the Scandinavian country could be vulnerable to military aggression from Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.

The Finnish government recently strengthened ties with Nato following Russian incursions into eastern Ukraine.

In recent months Finland, not a Nato member, also fired underwater depth charges at a suspected Russian submarine in the waters near capital Helsinki.

The letters from the Finnish Defence Forces were first sent earlier this month, with the final batch distributed in recent days.

They read: “Attached you will find your personal details as well as your role in the event of war."


One Finnish reservist, who received the letter, said that the timing was by no means random.

He said: "It is clearly due to a more aggressive stance by the Russians.

"I’ve been in the reserves for 15 years and this is the first time I’ve received something like this. They send out letters like this very rarely.”

A senior research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs said they had been contacted by concerned individuals to ask if they should fear confrontation with Russia.

Charly Salonius-Pasternak said: “If Russia had headed down the path towards being a liberal democracy, there would not have been the pressure to do this.


“In the current reality, it makes sense. The Finnish Defence Forces want to make sure that if they need to blow the whistle, they can rely on 230,000 reserves.”

She added: “That is linked to the increasing instability in the region. Russia has shown that it can transport large numbers of troops across vast distances very quickly.

"I have never had so many people coming up to me asking if they should be worried about the security situation.”

The Finland Army has 16,000 soldiers, but this number could swell to 285,000 if reserves were called upon.

The government has since denied that the letters are connected to tensions with Russia or the Ukraine crisis.

Instead, they said the plan for the mass delivery began two years ago, with the aim being to check they had correct contact details for all reservists.

Mika Kalliomaa, a spokesman for the Finnish Defence Forces: “The reservist letter is associated with our intention to develop communications with our reservists, and not the prevailing security situation.

Finland is widely assumed to hold a neutral status despite growing tensions between Russia and the West, in order to keep stable relations with its neighbour.

However, earlier this month Finland joined Britain to take part in the biggest Nato war games close to Moscow's doorstep.

The two-week exercise in the North Sea was aimed at improving anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/579200/Finland-Russia-tension-one-millions-troops-letter
 
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