Finnish Defence Minister announces €300 million investment in Lapland defence

A file photo of Finland’s Defence Minister Antti Häkkänen. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

During his visit to military exercise Northern Forest 24 in Rovajärvi, Minister Häkkänen underscored the importance of allied military exercises in Arctic conditions, and told of investments in Finnish defence and infrastructure in Lapland.

On Wednesday, May 29, Finland’s Defence Minister Antti Häkkänen visited the ongoing  international brigade level military exercise, Northern Forest 24, where Finnish, U.S. and Norwegian soldiers train together.

The exercise takes place on May 26-31 in the forests of Rovajärvi between Sodankylä and Kemijärvi.

In his opening speech, Defence Minister Häkkänen underscored the importance of allied military exercises in Lapland.

“What determines the success of defending the northern region is the experience and regional knowledge of the troops operating there. Naturally, this is achieved only by regularly training in these challenging conditions.” Häkkänen said.

Training, fighter jets in Arctic amongst investments

Lapin Kansa reports that Defence Minister Häkkänen said nearly 300 million euros will be invested in the defense in Lapland during the current electoral term. For instance there will be investments in enhancing the operational capability of garrisons, in increased training exercises, as well as the concentration of F-35 fighters and the air force to Rovaniemi.

Häkkänen also mentioned ongoing plans of transportation and logistics routes in Lapland, which are carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport. Critical initiatives mentioned are Highway 21 and major rail projects.

Highway 21 is 459 kilometers long and runs parallel to the border of Sweden and Finland between Tornio, located at the northern end of the Gulf of Bothnia, and Kilpisjärvi, located in the far northwestern part of Finland close to the border of Norway and Sweden.

The NATO Military Committee, including Chair of the Committee Admiral Rob Bauer, also had the opportunity to participate in the visit to Rovajärvi on Wednesday, to observe the operations of the Finnish Defence Forces in practice.

The NATO Military Committee gathered for the first time in Finland from May 27–29, 2024. During the meeting in Lapland topics such as Finland’s geostrategic position, defence strategy, the model of comprehensive security and defence, and Finland’s role as a member of the Alliance, were covered.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada pledges billions for defence, falls short of NATO’s 2%, CBC News

Denmark: Denmark’s Arctic, North Atlantic focus: Canada among new defence attaché posts, Eye on the Arctic

Faroe Islands: Parliament passes Faroe Islands’ Arctic policy, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: US, Norwegian forces in Lapland for rapid reinforcement exercise, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: Oslo looks to Brussels for strengthened security and defence, CBC News 

Russia: Olenya bombers’ missiles shot down in overnight attack on Ukraine, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedes must mentally prepare for war, says military top brass, Radio Sweden

United States: White House releases U.S. Arctic strategy implementation plan, Eye on the Arctic

The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *