In the past few weeks, Finland has called upon its 900,000 military reservists to alert them of what their roles would be “in the event of war.” The latest batch of letters to reservists was sent just a few days ago, according to Finnish public broadcaster YLE. The move comes amid rising tensions between Russia and its neighbors. Finland shares an 833 miles long land border with Russia.
Finland keeping in touch with reservists
Finnish Defense Ministry said that the army’s letters campaign was aimed at keeping in touch with the conscripts. The Defense Ministry has also asked reservists to update their personal details with the army. While the letters did not provide details of any specific upcoming events, reservists believe that they are the result of escalating relations with Russia.
Russia has largely become isolated due to the annexation of Crimea and its alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis. However, Moscow continues to conduct military exercises in the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea, which have alarmed its neighbors. Finland is highly vulnerable to Russian aggression as it is not a member of NATO alliance.
Finland’s army has about 16,000 members (excluding Naval and Air Forces), but the number could go up to 285,000 if reservists were called upon. The Finnish government has been inching closer to NATO after the Kremlin’s incursions into eastern Ukraine. In recent months, Russian fighter planes have increasingly probed air defenses of Finland and other European countries.
Nordic nations seem to be fully aware of the military risks. In April, the defense ministers of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland warned that Northern Europe must prepare for possible military aggression from Russia. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former economic adviser said Putin believed that Russia should “rightfully” control parts of Finland.
The United States has been building up military presence in Eastern Europe to counter Russian aggression. In March, Vladimir Putin revealed that his forces were ready to launch nuclear weapons during the annexation of Crimea last year.