Finland Mulls Buying Israeli Anti-aircraft System, Citing Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Finland shares the longest European border with Russia, and while not a NATO member, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has renewed debate over the prospect of joining

Finland aims to buy an anti-aircraft defense system from Israel to help guard its long border with Russia, Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said on Saturday, citing the current war in Ukraine.

Israeli defense contractors Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Systems were under consideration for the purchase, Kaikkonen told the Yle television broadcaster.

“The situation along our borders is peaceful, but we still have to be watchful and strengthen our defenses,” Kaikkonen said.

In December, Finland announced the purchase of 64 F-35 fighter jets from U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

Kaikkonen said he was in possession of information from the country’s intelligence services indicating greater participation by Belarus in the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

Of all European Union member states, Finland shares the longest border with Russia. While it is not a NATO member, the current conflict has sparked renewed debate about joining the Western alliance.

Kaikkonen said he expected that other EU member states would not fail to act. “The partnerships that we have with different countries are so deep that I think if Finland was the target of an attack, other EU states wouldn’t stand by quietly,” he said.

He added that there were no signs currently of a definite threat.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto conducted talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in the White House on Friday, during which they agreed on closer defense cooperation.

The president said the United States and Nordic countries would “initiate a clear process to step up defense and security cooperation” after the meeting, which included a call to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

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