Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin says Europe is ‘not strong enough’ without the US | Finland | Popgen Tech


Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin called on Europe to build its own defense capabilities in the wake of the war in Ukraine, saying it was not resilient enough without US help.

“We have to make sure we are stronger,” Marin said in Sydney on Friday. “And I will be brutally honest with you, Europe is not strong enough. We would be in trouble without the United States.”

Her comments came in response to a question about China’s responsibility to “keep Russia in check”. Marin said that while China can play a role, “we shouldn’t just rely on it.”

Marin insisted that Ukraine should be given “whatever it takes” to win the war, adding that the United States had been instrumental in providing Kyiv with the weapons, finance and humanitarian aid needed to counter Russia’s advance too blunt.

“We have to make sure that we also build those capabilities when it comes to European defense, the European defense industry, and make sure that we can cope in different kinds of situations,” she said.

Marin said that when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the priority of most Finns changed to security “overnight”.

Until Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland’s priorities were to have working bilateral relations with Russia and to be close partners with members of NATO, but not to be a member, she said. “It was the best way to secure our nation.”

Finland and Sweden applied to join the alliance in May, but are waiting for Turkey and Hungary to ratify their requests, which have been approved by the other 28 nations in the group. In June, Putin warned that if NATO were to install military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden, Moscow would be “obliged to respond symmetrically and raise the same threats to those areas where threats to us have arisen”.

Asked what the most likely scenario was in terms of threats posed by Russia to Finland, with which it shares a 1,300 km border, Marin said: “We have extensive military forces, so we don’t expect them on that account will not get involved and we We do not see any military action near the Finnish border.”

“But we’re obviously prepared for different types of hybrid attacks that we might see.”

“We’re preparing for different types of cyber attacks … we’re preparing for different types of hybrid attacks, for misinformation.”

Between February and late October, cyber attacks on “critical targets” in Finland increased by a third, according to a recent article by Finnish broadcaster YLE that Aapo Cederberg, the CEO of Cyberwatch Finland.

In August, Russian hackers claimed responsibility for a denial-of-service attack on Finland’s parliamentary website, as well as another Finnish government website, writing on Telegram that it had “decided to pay a ‘friendly’ visit to the to bring neighboring Finland, whose authorities are so eager to join NATO”, YLE reported.

In September, Antti Pelttari, the director of Supo, the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service, warned that “We consider it highly likely that Russia will turn to the cyber environment over the winter.”

October alone saw what would previously be three months of denial-of-service attacks, Trafficom, the Finnish transport and communications agency, reported.

Worried about the prospect of other hybrid attacks, including armed mass migration, Finland’s main political parties have backed a proposal to build a fence along parts of the country’s border with Russia.

The country is also worried about large-scale illegal crossings, as Russian men flee the mobilization. About 40,000 Russians have entered Finland since the start of the war, according to Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

Finland recently suspended tourist visas for Russian citizens. Marin said Friday: “It has become morally unacceptable to allow the Russian middle and upper classes to continue to enjoy their holidays in Europe while their military kills, tortures and terrorizes Ukrainians.”

Finland, which has a population of 5.5 million, still has conscription for men, and has a wartime troop strength of 280,000, with 870,000 trained as reservists. It spends 2% of GDP on defence, a higher percentage than most NATO members. The country fought two wars against the Soviet Union in the 1940s, in which 100,000 Finns died.

“Our story after the wars, when we gained our independence, is a successful one,” she said. “We have to make sure that Ukrainians have that hope, that they will have that future.”


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