Report: Finland is considering allowing US troops the media
US soldiers may soon be allowed to deploy to bases in neighboring Russia, a senior diplomat claims
Helsinki is reportedly already in talks with Washington about a defense cooperation agreement (DCA) that would allow US troops to freely deploy to the newly adopted NATO state, a Finnish foreign official, Mikael Antell, has told Helsingin Sanomat (HS) newspaper. .
The outlet reported that Antell, who serves as the foreign ministry’s 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 intended to strengthen Finland’s current NATO membership, which it was granted in April, and to strengthen the country’s deterrence and defense capabilities through American presence and the deployment of defense equipment.
– The most important thing is that the agreement enables smooth cooperation with the US in all security situations and even at short notice, he tells HS.
He explained that the DCA would allow for the entry and stay of US troops, advance storage of materials and possible infrastructure investment through funds granted to the Pentagon by the US Congress.
Antell noted that while the agreement may create investment opportunities in Finland, it was “too early to speculate” on specific investments. However, he suggested that this could be similar to funding a maintenance hub for F-35 fighter jets.
The senior diplomat also stressed that the US is currently not aiming for a permanent presence in the country, but is trying to operate on the principle of rotation, such as moving troops in and out for different durations.
It was also noted that the DCA does not cover nuclear weapons.
According to the newspaper, negotiations at civil service level between Finland and the US are expected to run into next year, after which a draft of the agreement will be considered in parliament.
The US currently operates similar DCA agreements with Denmark and Sweden. State Department spokesman Ned Price said 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 long-standing 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 Turkey and Hungary, which have opposed Stockholm’s membership due to national security concerns.