Finland Supports Ukraine's Strikes Inside Russia, Defying NATO Consensus

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.01 - 2024 8:42 AM CET

Finland Supports Ukraine's Strikes Inside Russia, Defying NATO Consensus.

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Finland is diverging from the position of several NATO countries, including the United States, by allowing Ukraine to use Finnish weapons to strike against Russia on Russian territory. This remarkable development was confirmed by statements from Helsinki, signaling a significant shift in Finland's approach to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Finland's Defense Minister, Antti Häkkänen, and Jukka Kopra, the chair of the Finnish Parliament's Defense Committee, have both clarified that there are no restrictions on how the Ukrainian military can utilize Finnish weapons. "If necessary, Ukraine should also strike military targets on the Russian side. It is a completely legitimate defense battle that Ukraine is fighting. The UN Charter allows for military targets to be attacked across national borders," Jukka Kopra told Yle.

Finland's Consideration of Sending Taurus Missiles

Finland is "seriously" considering sending Taurus cruise missiles, designed for long-range targets, to assist Kyiv. This stance is in stark contrast to that of several other NATO countries.

For instance, the United States has urged the Ukrainian military not to use US-provided weapons to conduct attacks on Russian territory.

"We have asked the Ukrainians not to use USA-delivered equipment for direct attacks against Russia," Army General Mark Milley told Reuters last year.

Calls for Germany to Reconsider

Germany, holding a similar position to the US, has withheld deliveries of Taurus missiles, fearing that the weapons would be used to hit deep inside Russia, potentially drawing Germany into a conflict with Vladimir Putin. However, Finland is urging Germany to reconsider its stance.

"I encourage Germany to seriously consider it. The German government knows it would be of great significance," Antti Häkkänen told Yle.

Russia's Warnings

Russia has issued stern warnings against countries like Germany over potentially supplying Ukraine with Taurus missiles, stating that such actions would make these countries "legitimate targets."

"These idiots are actively driving us towards World War III," said Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and now deputy chair of Russia's Security Council, last autumn. Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin's spokesperson, also warned of "another round of escalated tensions" due to the introduction of such weapons, as reported by Reuters last summer.

This development underscores the growing complexities and diverging stances within NATO regarding military support for Ukraine amidst its conflict with Russia.

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