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New NATO member supports French position on troops in Ukraine

Finnish FM Elina Valtonen has argued that nobody knows how “serious” the conflict could become

Helsinki agrees with Paris that all options must remain on the table to support Kiev’s war effort against Moscow, but at this point is not willing to send its own troops to Ukraine or even discuss such a possibility, according to Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen.

French President Emmanuel Macron triggered a stern backlash in February after he suggested that the US-led military bloc “cannot exclude” the possibility of sending NATO soldiers to aid Ukraine. Several member states, including Finland’s then president, quickly repudiated Macron’s remarks, asserting that they would put no boots on the ground in Ukraine.

However, the Finnish FM has argued that anything was possible, hypothetically, should the situation on the ground deteriorate, Politico’s NatSec Daily reported on Friday.

READ MORE: Western troops in Ukraine: How a big lie could lead to the biggest war

“It’s important that we not rule everything out for the long term, because we never know how serious the situation becomes,” Valtonen said.

But the Finnish position is clear: We are not right now sending any troops and not willing to discuss that.

In the meantime, Kiev’s sponsors “could do so much more” in terms of arming its forces, Valtonen said. She also shamed Washington for dragging its feet on new aid, saying its reputation was at stake. Since joining NATO, Finland has already surpassed the bloc’s 2% GDP spending target, including more than 0.6% on Ukraine alone.

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Finland shares a 1,300 kilometer border with Russia, and Moscow has argued that NATO membership has threatened, and not guaranteed, Finnish security. After Finland joined the bloc last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the creation of a new military district bordering the Nordic nation. “There was no trouble” before Finland joined the bloc, he said in December, adding: “now there will be.”

Finland’s newly elected president Alexander Stubb promised at his inauguration to lead the Nordic nation into a “new era” of military partnership with the West, boasting that NATO membership gives his country a “real nuclear deterrent” in the form of American missiles.


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