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Finland Open to Joining Europe’s Sky Shield Defense

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New Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on Friday that his country is open to joining the European air defense system Sky Shield.

“The war in Ukraine has shown that air defense really does play a very central role in modern warfare, and when it comes to building a common defense, including within NATO, then this should also be taken into account,” Orpo said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

“Of course, we are also interested in this discussion on this air defense issue,” the Finnish prime minister added. 

The air defense system was initiated by Germany in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine, with the goal of allowing European countries to buy and train defense systems together.

With the European Sky Shield, Germany and more than a dozen other allies want to build up a European air defense system. The aim of the protective shield is to close gaps in air defense.

Different systems will be integrated into the defensive shield suggested by Germany, which is suitable for defending against medium- and long-range missiles or armed drones, as well as possible Russian attacks.

According to the German government, Russia’s attacks on Ukraine have made it clear that it is necessary to build up a European air defense system. 

The German Defense Ministry has pointed out that Russia is “frequently using unmanned systems, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and hypersonic missiles in Ukraine.” 

Last year, Scholz had termed joint air defense as a “security gain for the whole of Europe.”

In addition, it is “more cost-effective and efficient than if each of us builds our own, expensive and highly complex air defense system,” he added.​​​​​​​

According to the Defense Ministry, the modern German air defense system Iris-T SLM, which is already being used in Ukraine, will be purchased. Members of the European Sky Shield will also rely on US-made Patriot and Israeli Arrow systems.

Source: AA

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