Finland, Norway and Sweden 23 September signed a new defense agreement, sending, according to officials, "A clear signal from Russia". Formally, the purpose of the treaty is to strengthen mutual understanding between the states of Scandinavia in the era of the struggle of superpowers.
"It's hard to be small"
The heads of the military departments of the three countries gathered in Porsangmoen in Finnmark county in northern Norway, where new agreements on military cooperation were concluded. The purpose of the agreement is to intensify defense cooperation in the High North, including through joint exercises and coordination of plans for conducting military operations.
We've come to a common admission, that the next possible crisis will affect more than one country, but also all northern countries. Therefore it is very important, so that we can collaborate on many levels […] Especially during the period of incessant rivalry between the great powers, when it's hard to be a small country
– explained Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen.
Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen calls Sweden and Norway "natural partners".
Signing a contract
The essence of a military alliance
The actual direction of the military treaty was announced by the head of the military department of "neutral" Sweden Peter Hultkvist, stated, that the agreement sends a "clear signal to Russia", from which he sees a clear threat.
We live in an era, when the Russian side invested a lot in troops and military equipment
– noted Hultqvist, specifying, that the current situation resembles the times of the Cold War.
Nevertheless, he rejected the idea of, that this move brings historically neutral Sweden closer to NATO. Former Minister of Defense of Norway Sverre Diesen made a sharp statement. In his words, Oslo will have to deploy an impressive force in Finnmark province, what is in conflict with the existing military doctrine. Finnmark is a territory bordering on the Russian Murmansk region. Until recently, Norway avoided placing a large military contingent here..
As Sputnik explains, the armed forces of Norway in peacetime have 23 250 people, including military and civilian personnel. Considering the conscripts and the Inner Guard in full mobilization, then the number will increase to 63 250 people. Swedish troops count 22 500 military personnel plus about 35 000 reservists. The Finnish Armed Forces have about 8000 military personnel and 25 000 conscripts, but can boast 900 000 reservists.