On a windy island off the coast of Helsinki, Finns All social classes came to spend the weekend in military training, and volunteers waved as they tried to enter the country. NATO Protect yourself from Russia.
The Finnish army has only 13,000 specialists, but the country has a population of 5.5 million. Has an impressive 900,000 reserves And a wartime army with a capacity of 280,000 soldiers. It is the symbol of a country that is always ready to face the worst.
To many of those who came this Saturday in May to the military island of SantahaminaRussian invasion Ukraine It’s a wake-up call.
“This is the last sign that you need to be prepared for life. If something happens, you still need to be prepared for the crisis.Ville Mucca, a 30-year-old engineer, told AFP.
Wearing camouflage suits and helmets covered with branches, he and his companions learn to fight hand in hand, detect explosives, or move in unison through the woods.
In the first week of the war UkraineIncreased enrollment in voluntary care programs.
“Interest was ten times higher than normal years” Ossi Hietala, 29, a representative of the Finnish National Defense Training Association MPK, explained.
Instead of 600 volunteers per week, the number rose to 6,000This led to the payment of the Finnish state MPK Three million extra euros.
Independently Russia Occupied by the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1939. Finland For most of World War II it was at war with its powerful neighbors. Ends in a practical alliance with Nazi Germany.
The conflict led to the loss of much of its territory, followed by decades of forced neutrality under Moscow’s surveillance during the Cold War.
“There is no need to go far in history to find points of coordination with the war in Ukraine.”“It’s very worrying,” said Tomas Vare, 43.
“This is undoubtedly the reason why I am so active in my training,” he said. Agreed.
Finland He announced his “historic” candidacy on Sunday NATO Y Sweden It did so on Monday, a direct result of the Russian invasion Ukraine Ending decades of military neutrality.
Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, In Finland, the number of coalition supporters tripled to more than 75%.
“As a small country I think Finland has no other legitimate way to defend itself and its sovereignty. I support the alliance.Mukka said.
Moscow expressed its annoyance at the proposed merger of the two Nordic countries and threatened to “respond”.
MBK trainings offer a wide range of courses to prepare people for the crisis, receiving about 40,000 people a year.
The exercises range from basic level map reading or camping in the woods to sniper training and the use of anti-tank weapons.
“Those who come are ordinary fins. These people want to develop their skills, train, and learn new things.Hitala pointed out.
Most of the participants are reservists who want to upgrade their skills.
Unlike most European countries, Finland Based on his protection in compulsory military service.
All men between the ages of 18 and 60 are subject to coercion, while women participate on a voluntary basis.
Each year, more than 20,000 young compulsive workers perform their service, lasting from six months to more than a year. After that, they go into reserve.
“Reserveists make up 96% of the forces during wartime, so they are the most important part of Finnish military security,” Hitala explained.
“A large portion of the aging population has received military training at some point in their lives,” he said.
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