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Finnish, Swedish defence ministers talk security, mutual cooperation

Meanwhile, members of the two countries' militaries took part in joint drills in the Baltic Sea near Sweden.

File photo of Finland's defence minister Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) met with his Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist, standing on the left. Photo taken in 2020. Image: Vesa Vaarama / Yle

Finland took part in a joint military exercise organised by its Nordic neighbour, Sweden in the maritime area west of the island of Gotland on Wednesday, according to the Finnish Defence Forces.

At the same time Finland's defence minister Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) met with his Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist in Visby, Gotland to discuss the current security situation as well as mutual cooperation.

"The intensified security situation emphasises the importance of good cooperation and joint training. We are taking care of our own area," Kaikkonen told Yle correspondent Kirsi Heikel on Gotland.

The defence ministers of both countries considered the situation very serious.

"It's startling. Russia has launched its first major offensive war in Europe since World War II," Hultqvist said.

"It is a violent insult to the Ukrainian nation and democracy. It demonstrates the nature of the Russian regime, its unpredictability and its readiness to use military force and military violence to achieve political goals," said Hultqvist.

Both Finland and Sweden have made historic decisions on arms exports to Ukraine.

According to a press release from the Finnish Defence Forces, the aim of the exercises was to test and develop the interoperability of the countries' navies and air forces.

Branches of Finland's Defence Command, as well as battle vessels and Air Force aircraft took part in the exercises. Additionally, the Finnish Coastal Fleet's Minelayer Uusimaa took part in drills related to operating in an international environment.

Two Hornet fighter jets also participated in the exercises.

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