prime minister Sanna Marin (SDP) announced on Monday night that Finland will send weapons to Ukraine. An unprecedented decision was made by the president Sauli Niinistö on the basis of a proposal from the government.
Finland will supply 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 rounds of rifles, 1,500 anti-tank weapons and 70,000 combat kits to Ukraine.
The prime minister called for the decision, backed by foreign and defense ministers "historic".
Ukraine has asked the EU and NATO for certain types of emergency material assistance to defend itself against a Russian military offensive.
The first batch will be sent on Tuesday
Marin said that the aid given to Ukraine would not weaken Finland’s own defense.
Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) said the equipment from the storage facilities could soon be replaced. He refused to specify what exact device models would be supplied.
Niinistö met with the Foreign and Security Policy Committee on Thursday and Sunday to discuss the situation in Ukraine and possible material assistance.
The president decided on Sunday that non-lethal aid will be delivered to Ukraine, including bulletproof vests, composite helmets and first aid units. The government also decided to allow Estonia to supply artillery purchased from Finland to Ukraine.
According to Kaikkonen, the equipment will be sent in two batches. The first will leave on Tuesday, and the guns will be shipped on Wednesday. He said Poland would play a key role in arms transfers, but declined to discuss details for security reasons.
MPs will discuss NATO on Tuesday
When asked about Finland’s possible application to join NATO, Marin said that a parliamentary debate on the matter would take place from Tuesday.
He pointed out that a citizens’ initiative calling for a NATO referendum collected the necessary 50,000 signatures for consideration by Parliament on Friday.
Marin refused to share his own personal views, but said he understood that many Finns’ views on NATO had changed as a result of Russia’s hostilities.
A poll published in Yle on Monday showed that 53 per cent of Finns are in favor of NATO membership, which is a dramatic jump from previous opinions – and for the first time, a majority in Yle’s poll was in favor of joining.
About two weeks ago, Marin said it was "unlikely" but it is not ruled out that Finland could apply during the election period ending at the beginning of this year 2023.
Source: The Nordic Page