Russia military helicopter mocks Finland by violating its airspace

Russia military helicopter mocks Finland by violating its airspace

Russia military helicopter mocks Finland by violating its airspace
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A Russian military helicopter breached the airspace of Finland, ostensibly to intimidate the country as it prepares to join NATO.

According to the country’s Ministry of Defence, the military Mi-17 cargo helicopter flew 2-3 kilometres inside the Finnish border after 10.30 a.m. (7.30 a.m. GMT).

‘The aircraft is a Mi-17 helicopter, and the suspected breach is four to five kilometres deep,’ a ministry spokesperson told AFP.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland has hastened its bid to join the Western defence alliance, infuriating the Kremlin. Sweden is preparing to join NATO as another traditionally neutral new member.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, public opinion in both nations has shifted in favour of joining.

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In reprisal, Putin has warned ‘consequences’ and suggested he will shift Russian nuclear weapons to the adjacent Baltic Sea.

Last month, a Russian legislator told Finland that they would be asking for the “destruction of their nation.” Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov called the decision a “sad tragedy.”

On April 8, Russia breached Finnish airspace for the first time this year. The announcement came after a Finnish nuclear supplier suspended a deal with Rosatom, the Russian state energy business, for the supply of a power station.

The war in Ukraine, according to Fennovoima, “has intensified the dangers for the project,” which was supposed to supply 10% of Finland’s power needs.

In recent days, Moscow soldiers have flown into Swedish and Danish airspace, forcing Denmark’s Foreign Minister to call Russia’s Ambassador in Copenhagen.

Experts have warned that Finland and Sweden will almost certainly face Russian meddling as they decide whether to join NATO as a deterrent to their eastern neighbour’s aggression.

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A vast majority of Finnish MPs and the general population support joining the Atlantic Alliance.

Before declaring independence in 1917, Finland was controlled by Russia for 108 years.

During WWII, it fought against a Soviet assault before ceding numerous border territories to Moscow as part of a peace treaty.

During the Cold War, the Nordic countries remained neutral in exchange for Soviet pledges not to attack.

On the Swedish side, on May 13, the government and parliament are scheduled to deliver a security policy assessment, including perspectives on NATO membership.

Stockholm is also undertaking conversations with NATO members, with its foreign minister visiting the United States and Canada this week.

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In early March, four Russian fighter planes violated Swedish airspace near Sweden’s strategically positioned Baltic Sea island of Gotland.

On Friday, a Russian surveillance plane flew across the Swedish border near a naval installation in the country’s south.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Finland and Sweden would be “welcomed with open arms” if they applied.

They may also be granted NATO safeguards between making their admission bid and having the move accepted by all of the alliance’s member nations.

‘If they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden would be warmly welcomed, and I anticipate the process to go rapidly,’ Mr Stoltenberg said last week in Brussels.

He also referred to the nations as “our closest friends,” adding that “they are robust and mature democracies.”

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‘Their armed forces meet NATO standards and are interoperable with NATO forces.

‘We train together, we exercise together, and we have also worked with Finland and Sweden in many different missions and operations.’

 

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