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US soldiers train with Finnish forces in Helsinki

The Finnish Defence Forces are hosting a contingent of US Army soldiers on Santahamina island for two weeks. 

Soldiers of the Guard Jaeger Regiment practiced with US soldiers the breaching of buildings occupied by the enemy. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) are hosting US troops for a training session around Helsinki this and next week.

Finland's Guard Jaeger Regiment on Santahamina island began training on Tuesday with a light infantry company from the US Army's 4th Infantry Division based out of Fort Carson, Colorado.

Exercises are taking place both on the island military installation of Santahamina in Helsinki as well as the Helsinki metropolitan area.

The training aims to test and develop the skills of both forces while deepening international cooperation and compatibility.

Plans for the training session were hatched in May, when Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) announced plans to increase cooperation with Nato countries, as Finland applied for membership in the alliance.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, exercises with Nato member states have included naval training and flight operations. This week, two British F-35's will take part in drills in Eastern Finland.

The soldiers are training in urban combat tactics, using English as the command language.

US Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Teplesky praised the exercise and pointed out the differences between training in the US and Finland. Besides the bright night skies, he commented that even opening doors was different—as doors in the US tend to have round knobs while Finnish doors typically use handles.

Colonel Asko Kopra, commander of the Guard Jaeger Regiment, noted that since the exercises started last Monday, the soldiers from both countries have learned from one another.

"Such exercises are a good springboard: we can compare our skills with the US skillset and take good practices from them into our training. We have something to offer them," Kopra told Yle.

According to Kopra, Finnish soldiers are highly motivated when they get to train with soldiers from other countries.