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Finland hosts historic military training drill, Swedish forces under Finnish command

The aim of the exercise was to enhance tactical and technical interoperability, and improve the ability to receive Swedish Armed forces in Northern Finland.

Vigilant knife -harjoitus laitettiin poikkeuksellisen nopealla aikataululla pystyyn. Video on puolustusvoimien taistelukamerayksikön kuvaa.
Vigilant knife -harjoitus laitettiin poikkeuksellisen nopealla aikataululla pystyyn. Video on puolustusvoimien taistelukamerayksikön kuvaa.
Yle News

The Finnish Army hosted a historic military exercise drill this week in Northern Finland.

The exercise, codenamed Vigilant Knife, was held in the Rovaniemi and Rovajärvi areas of Finnish Lapland and marked the first occasion Sweden placed its troops under Finnish military command.

The drill, which ended on Friday, also included about 80 personnel from the UK.

"What was new was that Sweden handed over its troops to the command or leadership of the Finnish Army. This has never happened in military drill exercises before," Arto Hirvelä, Chief of Staff of the Kainuu Brigade, told Yle.

In total, about 880 Swedish personnel were involved in the exercise.

"It is exceptional that this was launched at such short notice. For example, we had to plan the arrival of foreign troops for the exercise quite quickly," Hirvelä said, adding that only very few members of the Kainuu Brigade were aware that the exercise was going ahead until last week.

"The main force was alerted on Monday morning, when the planning started, so there was a very short notice period," he said.

The army's official Twitter account revealed on Monday that the combat phase of the exercise had begun.

A press release added that the Jaeger Brigade, the Kainuu Brigade and the Karelia Brigade represented the Finnish army in the drill, as well as participants from the Army Command, the Guard Jaeger Regiment, the Pori Brigade, and the Finnish Border Guard.

In total, about 200 service personnel and 1,300 conscripts and reservists from the Finnish Defence Forces took part in the week-long exercise.

The exercise drill took place over one week in Finnish Lapland. Image: PUOLUSTUSVOIMAT / Kerkko Linnarinne

"The objective of the exercise is to enhance tactical and technical interoperability as well as to improve the abilty to receive Swedish Army forces in Northern Finland and to organize the host nation support necessary for the units," the press release stated.

The training exercise was part of the Army's complementary training and exercise activity for the summer of 2022.

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