Finland Says It Won't Send Weapons to Ukraine, Yet Raises Internal Security Level
© AP Photo / Boris GrdanoskiFinnish troops
© AP Photo / Boris Grdanoski
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto rejected the notion that Helsinki was shying away from military help for Ukraine over fears of Russian reprisal and emphasised the country's rule of not exporting arms to conflict zones. Instead underscoring Finland's financial help to Ukraine, adding that another package is under consideration.
Finland will not send weapons to Ukraine faced with the possibility of a "Russian invasion", Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto of the Greens has said.
Haavisto told national broadcaster Yle that there is still a chance for a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine crisis, despite mounting "intelligence" that Russia could attack "anytime", and emphasised the necessity of continued diplomatic efforts, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's visit to Moscow on Tuesday.
The minister also waved aside suggestions that the refusal to support Ukraine with arms was due to fear of Russian reprisal.
"Finland is not a major arms exporter of any kind", said Haavisto. "Every shipment is handled individually here. In principle we have said that we don't export weapons to conflict zones".
Haavisto, however, emphasised that Finland had supported Ukraine financially since 2014, and the government was considering what more help to give.
At the same time, the Finnish Defence Forces remarkably raised their level of internal security. The level was raised the second-lowest level on a four-point scale. The exact reason for raising the security level was not specified. Military officials said it was part of normal operations.
Director of Communications of the Defence Forces, Colonel Torsti Astrén, said the measure was aimed at increasing the efficiency of security and surveillance, yet emphasised that the situation in Finland and neighbouring areas was "stable" with "no military threat".
Russia has been persistently shooting down Western allegations of a purported "invasion" of Ukraine, to the point of President Vladimir Putin joking about the "exact dates" of the war repeatedly floated by Western media outlets. A Kremlin spokesman dismissed the media flow surrounding Ukraine, calling it a "manic information frenzy".
By contrast, Moscow has expressed concerns over NATO's growing military activity and advancement toward Russia's frontiers, calling it a threat to its national security.