Finland is to significantly increase defence spending to bolster deterrence, after a budget deal that gave the country's Defence Ministry most of what it asked for in the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine.
The Government agreed on Tuesday to increase Finland's military spending by 2.2 billion euros, and on Wednesday the head of the Defence Forces Timo Kivinen and Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) held a press conference where they laid out what exactly they plan to do with the new funding.
"So what are we planning to acquire, I'll give a few examples," said Kaikkonen. "Anti-tank weapons, air defence weapons, infantry equipment, artillery parts, field hospital materials and sea and air defence missiles. You could say that we are getting our stores into shape and maintaining our defence."
The new money will be spread out during 2023-2026, with 700 million euros allocated this year.
Both Kivinen and Kaikkonen stressed that Finland's possible membership of Nato does not eliminate the need for the country to prepare for security challenges.
Kivinen acknowledged that the sums in question were large, but he said they were a necessary investment in the country's defence capabilities. Among other things, the FDF plans to increase its stockpile of ammunition and spare equipment parts.
The majority of the funding is earmarked towards purchase of missile and ammunition gear already in use.
However, according to Kivinen, the acquisition and deployment of new aircraft — as well as intelligence capabilities — will also be accelerated.
The extra funding will also enable the FDF to increase personnel numbers, a process which, according to Kivinen, will begin immediately.
The FDF plans to increase its staff by 500 and will expand the number of reservists it calls in each year to just under 30,000 troops from the current 19,300.
Defence minister Antti Kaikkonen said that Finland's defence capabilities were already in good shape, but the war in Ukraine has shown that it is vital to ensure that defence equipment, ammunition stockpiles and the will to defend the country must be in order.
Kaikkonen said the aim of the additional defence investments is to ensure that war never crosses Finland's borders.
Kivinen said that the war in Ukraine underscored the reasons behind Finland's defence preparedness, including prepared reservists and weapons systems based on modern technology.