INTERNATIONAL

JUST IN: Finnish Minister Urges U.S. to Expedite Military Aid to Ukraine

1/22/2024
By Stew Magnuson
Finnish soldiers in Grafenwoehr, Germany

DoD Photo

A senior member of Finland’s government urged both the United States and the European Union to speed up military assistance to Ukraine.

Victory for Russia in Ukraine will upend the world order that has been established since the end of the World War II, Anders Adlercreutz, Finland’s minister for European affairs and ownership steering, said Jan. 22 during a talk at the Wilson Center.

Military aid from the United States has dried up as Congress debates a 2024 federal budget. Congress has passed a series of continuing resolutions to keep the government open without approving further assistance to the war-torn nation.

Finland joined NATO in April 2023 in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while its neighbor Sweden’s membership has stalled due to opposition from Turkey and Hungary. Meanwhile, the European Council, consisting of 27 members, attempted in December to pass a military aid package for Ukraine but failed to do so when Hungary vetoed the deal.

They will attempt to pass the package again in February, Adlercreutz said.

“At present … there is not a clear path toward providing Ukraine with what it needs and that really has to change. I mean, we have to reach a decision in February. Then of course, when you look at the domestic policies in the United States, I think it's reason to be concerned about the commitment also,” he said.

Finland has contributed about $1.75 billion to Ukraine in military aid, about a half percent of its GDP, which is a lot for a country of its size. That doesn’t include millions more in humanitarian assistance, Adlercreutz noted.

Politicians need to step up and ensure Ukraine has what it needs, he said.

“We are not investing our lives. We are investing merely resources — ammunition, weapons, training and so on — those are really easy decisions to make,” he said. “The Ukrainians are doing the hard work. They are dying. They are fighting. They are having their schools and houses, their buildings, their futures destroyed. And if we in that situation can't get our act together and provide them with money, ammunition, things that we don't really need today — then we are not doing our job.”

Europe doesn’t have the industrial capacity to support Ukraine. But it needs to step up, he added.

“The United States has that capacity, and we have maybe been over reliant on the United States as a provider of aid, but even so, it's clear that we need Europe to step up and we need to be in the game also,” he said.

Finland shares an 835 mile border with Russia, he noted. It is in “a fairly vulnerable situation. And if we can't rely on everybody sticking to agreements, then a lot of things become uncertain.”

Finland will participate in Steadfast Defender 2024, a massive NATO exercise that will include some 90,000 warfighters carrying out wargames with scenarios to defend Western Europe against Russian aggression.

Finland will use the exercise to integrate into the NATO structure, learn the operative capabilities of the organization, develop dedicated troops that can be used when needed and make the command structure more efficient — “really raising the general ability to act when needed,” he said.

Afterward, the NATO 75th anniversary summit will be held in Washington, D.C., in July.

“Personally, I would really hope that Ukraine also could be a part of this Washington summit. I think that would also send a needed signal to the world,” he said.

 

Topics: Global Defense Market

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