Finnish Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö has suggested that military exercises with Sweden to be hosted by Finland in 2020 or 2021 include the United States. He made this offer at a first joint tripartite meeting attended by Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and US Defense Secretary James Mattis on 7 November.
“Mattis commented positively on the matter, saying that we should have exercises,” Niinistö told reporters in Helsinki on 7 November. “But of course they also have their own exercises programme and they need to be reconciled. We see the US presence in the Baltic area and the rest of Europe as a stabilising factor.”
However, Mattis did not accept the invitation outright.
The minister’s decision comes less than two months after Russia's huge ‘Zapad 2017’ military exercises with neighbour Belarus on 14–20 September, involving up to 100,000 military and associated personnel.
In parallel, Sweden held ‘Aurora 17’ on 11–29 September with 19,000 troops. Participants included Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, France, Denmark, and the US, in addition to 300 solders and two NH90 helicopters from Finland.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact