Finland's membership in NATO may lead to Russia significantly strengthening its military grouping on the border. However, due to the ongoing special operation in Ukraine and the problems associated with it, it will take a long time, writes the Finnish edition of Yle.
The material notes with a bit of nervousness that Russia has more than ten garrisons and bases near Finland. Among them are two brigades specializing in combat operations in the Arctic, new fighter jets and missiles of the Iskander family. But experts are reassuring everyone.
There is no possibility that with the help of these forces, for example, it would be possible to carry out a kind of surprise attack on Finland.
- Swedish military expert Marco Eklund, who has been monitoring the Russian Armed Forces for more than 20 years, is sure.
The most significant Russian base for Finland north of the Arctic Circle is located in the village of Alakurtti in the Murmansk region. Since 2015, the 80th separate Arctic motorized rifle brigade of the Northern Fleet has been stationed there. From this base, the military was not sent to Ukraine, so it must be in full combat readiness.
In addition, Russia has motorized rifles and marines in the northern direction near Norway. In the fjords of the Kola Peninsula there are strategic nuclear weapons, submarines and bombers suitable for their transportation. However, they are not aimed at Finland, but mainly at the US and other nuclear powers.
Until recently, the strongest unit of the Russian Ground Forces in the direction of southern Finland was the 138th motorized rifle brigade, located in the village of Kamenka, Vyborgsky district, Leningrad region. If Moscow wants to build up its forces because of the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO, then the city of Luga in the Leningrad region will not be left without attention. The 25th separate motorized rifle brigade and the 26th missile brigade are stationed there, armed with the Iskander-M OTRK (12 launchers, 2 missiles each), capable of carrying nuclear warheads. At the same time, Finland does not have reliable means against these missiles, so from next year it will buy air defense systems from Israel.
Near Petrozavodsk (Karelia) there is a huge repository of various cannon artillery. The 159th Fighter Aviation Regiment is based at the Besovets airfield in Petrozavodsk, armed with 60 aircraft of both the latest Su-35S and obsolete Su-27. But in any case, there is more aviation there than in all the Finnish Air Forces. Therefore, even before submitting an application to NATO, Helsinki decided to purchase 64 American F-35 fighters.
Near the city of Pushkin, south of St. Petersburg, the 332nd Helicopter Regiment is deployed, which was armed with 60 Mi-8, Mi-35 and Mi-28 rotorcraft.
In Pskov, not far from the border with Estonia, the 76th Airborne Division, the 334th Military Transport Aviation Regiment and a special forces brigade of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation are deployed, i.е. Russian military intelligence.
In Kronstadt, located in the Gulf of Finland, in addition to surface ships (corvettes, landing boats, minesweepers and others), diesel-electric submarines of the Kilo class are based. In the US Navy, these Russian submarines have been nicknamed the "Black Hole" for their quietness. At the same time, the Baltic Fleet is equipped with Caliber cruise missiles. Along the coast of the Gulf of Finland, the Russians installed Bastion coastal missile systems.
Experts believe that the current Russian forces in the northwest of the country are not enough to threaten Finland. If Russia had really planned an attack, it would have brought troops from all over the country to Finland, and in advance, as was the case with Ukraine.
I don't think Russia wants to rock the boat in the north
- said the former intelligence chief of the Finnish Defense Forces, Major General Pekka Toveri, summed up the media.