The US and Finland are working out a deal that would allow the US to establish a military presence in the Nordic country, as Helsinki is now a member of NATO.
According to Newsweek, Finnish Foreign Ministry official Mikael Antell confirmed the two nations are negotiating a Defense Cooperation Agreement that may allow for the construction of significant military infrastructure on Finnish soil.
The potential agreement would not include nuclear weapons, although Finnish officials have previously not ruled out hosting nukes. The US has nuclear weapons stationed in five NATO countries under the alliance’s nuclear sharing program but not in any nations that became members after the end of the Cold War.
Antell said the potential DCA “enables troops to enter the country, stay on the ground, the pre-storage of material and possible infrastructure investments through the funds granted by the US Congress to the Pentagon.”
The US and Finland have been in talks on the DCA since last fall, and discussions on the deal took place in Helsinki last week. “The agreement also defines the facilities and areas where the cooperation would be focused,” Antell said. “They are basically military areas and garrisons. In principle, there can be more than one, but the discussions are still open in this regard.”
Finland shares an over 800-mile border with Russia, and its ascension into NATO means the region will become further militarized. Moscow has plans to beef up its military presence near the border in western Russia and has said it will take more steps to respond to the expansion of NATO infrastructure in Finland.