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Defence Minister: Call up letters unrelated to Ukraine crisis

Defence Minister Carl Haglund says that call up letters due to go out to reservists in May have nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine or tense relations between neighbouring Russia and the European Union. Haglund was responding to reports on plans by Finnish Defence Forces to mail out the letters to nearly one million reservists.

Puolustusministeri Carl Haglund.
Defence Minister Carl Haglund swept aside speculation about the call-up letters to be sent to reservists. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

The decision by the Defence Forces to issue call-up letters to some 900,000 reservists caused many to wonder about the reason behind the apparent call to muster.

On Thursday Defence Minister Carl Haglund swept aside concerns that the roll call could be linked to increasing tensions in the region. He said that a decision had been taken to distribute the letters well before the outbreak of violence in Ukraine.

“This mailing took shape back in 2010 a long time before the crisis in Ukraine. In 20013 a decision was made to send this kind of letter immediately after the defence force reform,” Haglund explained.

Haglund said that the mailout was also inspired by reservists’ interest in the Defence Forces.

“Many reservists are interested in what kinds of assignments they will have and they are motivated to participate in national defence work. Because of that it’s good to be able to provide them with regular updates on what has been planned,” he added.

Haglund sidestepped the question of what kind of message the call-up letters might send to parties abroad, nor would he be drawn on how Russia might react to the move.

“There is no intention to send any message,” Haglund observed.

Letters to all reservists in May

Yle reported on Thursday that the Defence Forces plans to send call-up letters to all reservists in May. The purpose of the communication is to help update reservists’ personal data, provide information about their roles and to test the integrity of the conscript register.

According to the Defence Forces a working group led by F-Secure chairman Risto Siilasmaa in 2010 recommended better communication with reservists, following which it was decided in 2013 to send out the letters.

However the plan was not implemented until this year, following the conclusion of a defence forces reform programme.

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