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Yle sources: Government set to increase defence budgets

Russia's attack on Ukraine has heightened tensions in Finland, with an increase in defence spending considered "inevitable".

Discussions about defence spending will form a key part of the government's budget framework discussions in the spring. Image: Puolustusvoimat

Government ministers will meet soon to discuss raising the budget for Finland's Defense Forces, government sources have informed Yle.

The level of spending on defence for both next year and in the longer-term will be on the table, according to the sources.

However, there has not yet been a political debate on the figures involved or the amounts that might be allocated.

The most obvious starting point for the discussions will be framework negotiations this spring, as the government will have additional budget to spend.

The reason for the discussion on increasing Finland's defence expenditure is Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Finland's Defence Forces stepped up their preparations for any potential military threat in January, although politicians — including President Sauli Niinistö — have said that Russia poses no immediate threat to Finland.

However, authorities are also preparing to combat various hybrid and cyber threats.

During this and the next governmental term, Finland's defense budget will also have to find the funds to pay for the nation's largest defence acquisition in history, following the decision made in December to purchase a total of 64 F-35 Lockheed Martin fighter jets.

The deal is valued at around 8.4 billion euros.

Any possible increase in defence expenditure will come on top of the Lockheed Martin deal.