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President Niinistö: Finland could train Ukrainians on weapon systems

President Sauli Niinistö told the media he sees no reason why Finland could not provide Ukrainians with training on the use of weapons being supplied as aid.

President Sauli Niinistö at the Finnish Army's Kontio 22 exercise on Tuesday 29 November 2022. Image: Pauliina Tolvanen / Yle

Answering media questions Tuesday morning in North Karelia, where he was observing Finnish Army field exercises, President Sauli Niinistö said that he sees no obstacles in the way of providing weapons training to Ukrainian troops.

He added that it would be sensible to provide training, especially in the use of weapons systems that Finland is providing Ukraine as part of aid packages.

"Of course, training on these could be very appropriate. We know how to use them," Niinistö said.

Niinistö was on site on Tuesday to observe the Finnish Army’s main Kontio 22 exercise, being held in North Karelia. The exercise began last Friday and runs through to 2 December.

The exercise is aimed at enhanced cooperation of the Army’s capabilities and branches, and its readiness to operate in rapidly developing situations together with Air Force and Border Guard troops.

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A total of 8,000 soldiers are taking part in the Kontio 22 exercise, including approximately 4,800 conscripts and 2,000 reservists. Image: Siru Päivinen

No Nato membership breakthrough expected

Speaking at the press briefing, Niinistö also said that he does not anticipate any significant news regarding the ratification process of Finland's Nato membership from this week's Nato foreign ministers' meeting in Bucharest, Romania.

According to Niinistö, Turkey's slow approach to ratification has not come as a surprise, attributing it to the state of mind of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

"It has been quite clear to me that the solution lies in the head of one man, that is of President Erdoğan", said Niinistö. "That is being affected by the state of Turkey's [spring] elections and Turkey's internal politics."

Niinistö added, however, that the ratification process for Finland's membership has progressed relatively quickly, although the final result, he said, may still drag on.

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