Finland accuses Russian helicopter of violating its airspace
Finland said a Russian Mi-17 helicopter violated its airspace, as Helsinki was considering applying to join NATO.
A spokesman for the Finnish Ministry of Defense said that the Russian Mi-17 helicopter flew into the country’s airspace about 4-5 km on the morning of May 4. This is the second time Finland has accused Russia of violating its airspace this year, after a Russian military transport plane did the same on April 8.
Finnish authorities are conducting a preliminary investigation into the incident, while the Russian side has not yet responded to the information. Finland shares a border of more than 1,300 km with Russia.
Finland’s Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said it could not be ruled out that the Russian plane’s airspace violation was related to the ongoing Arrow 22 international military exercise in Niinisalo with the participation of British NATO members. , USA, Latvia and Estonia.
The information that Russia violated Finnish airspace comes in the context that Finland and Sweden are considering applying to join NATO. Sheet Expressen Sweden on April 25 reported that the two countries could apply to join NATO as early as May.
Four Russian fighter jets were accused in March of violating Swedish airspace near the country’s strategically located island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Last week, a Russian spy plane also crossed the border with Sweden, near a naval base in the south of the country.
Analysts say that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is the main reason why Sweden and Finland consider becoming NATO members, abandoning the traditional neutral security policy.
After the end of the Cold War, Sweden and Finland worked to foster an increasingly close relationship with NATO and regularly sent forces to participate in joint exercises with the bloc. The two countries have also worked closely with the US in military training since 2015.
Despite being close NATO partners, neither Helsinki nor Stockholm are protected under Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty of mutual defense. Observers believe that joining NATO will help both countries increase security assurance and deterrence against threats.
Russia on April 11 warned that if Finland and Sweden join NATO, Russia will be forced to restore the military balance by strengthening defenses in the Baltic region, including the upcoming deployment of nuclear weapons.
Ngoc Anh (According to AFP)
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