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Wednesday's papers: Defence spending, stormy weather, pesticide-spraying drones

At least 260 million euros worth of new equipment has been purchased by the Finnish Defence Forces since Russia attacked Ukraine, Ilta-Sanomat reports.

The use of drones for crop protection spraying was widely discussed in Finland a few years ago, but the issue was put on hold since EU legislation explicitly prohibited it, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus writes. Image: Jari Pelkonen / Yle

Finland's government has significantly increased its defence budget since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reports on Wednesday morning. This increase has been especially reflected in the Finnish Defence Forces' procurements over the past six months.

IS writes that at least 260 million euros worth of new equipment has been purchased by the Defence Forces since February, with just over 100 million euros spent by the Ministry of Defence in the last month alone on new purchases.

However, recent procurements, such as ammunition, are largely just basic defence equipment, IS notes. For example, military aid to Ukraine has contributed to the shortage of such stocks, with Finland having sent more than 90 million euros worth of equipment to the country so far.

Meanwhile, 1.6 billion euros have been allocated by the government for defence procurements in the draft budget for next year, a 765 million euro increase compared to 2022.

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Incoming storm

An autumn storm is on its way to Finland and will hit in earnest on Thursday night, Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) informs readers.

Tuesday's rainy conditions are expected to continue through Wednesday and gusts are forecast to begin developing during Wednesday in the west of the country and early on Thursday morning in the north, as well as inland.

According to Foreca meteorologist Joanna Rinne, while Thursday morning's winds are expected to be the strongest, the windy weather is set to continue into Friday.

Rinne added that in southern and central parts of the country, winds are not expected to weaken significantly until Saturday.

For Wednesday and Thursday, the Finnish Meteorological Institute has issued strong wind warnings (siirryt toiseen palveluun) for multiple parts of the country, indicating dangerous weather conditions.

Agricultural drones in Finland?

Agricultural drones, mainly used for pesticide-spraying, may be used in Finland in the near future, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus (siirryt toiseen palveluun) writes, as the idea of using drones for crop protection is gaining traction within the EU.

The EU Member States have welcomed the move and expressed no objections when commenting on the Commission's June proposal (siirryt toiseen palveluun) for a regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products, according to Tove Jern, Senior Agricultural Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The proposal states that drones "are likely to help reduce the use of plant protection products due to targeted application and consequently help reduce the risks to human health and the environment compared to use of land-based application equipment."

Moreover, Finland's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is preparing a national law amendment to go along with the EU regulation, which would allow research institutes to apply plant protection products by drone, MS writes.

The use of drones for crop spraying was widely discussed in Finland a few years ago, but the issue was put on hold since EU legislation explicitly prohibited it.

However, it now looks possible that the use of agricultural drones in Finland may be approved in three years' time, by 2025, according to Jern and team leader Pauliina Laitinen from the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).

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