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HomeFinlandDefence Minister Stands by Finland's Arms Deal With Israel

Defence Minister Stands by Finland’s Arms Deal With Israel

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Finnish Defence Minister Antti Häkkänen (NCP) said he supports an arranged arms deal with Israel, after members of the opposition Left Alliance criticised the acquisition plans.

Finland is acquiring a high altitude air defence system from Israel, in a deal worth around 316 million euros.

Speaking on Yle TV1’s morning show on Friday, the defence minister said Israel has a high level of weapons technology knowledge that Finland needs for its security.

The weapons platform David’s Sling was jointly developed by Israeli company Rafael and US firm Raytheon.

“The war in Ukraine has shown that air defence capability is essential. Because of this, suddenly cancelling the acquisition of such a weapons system due to a particular event is out of the question,” Häkkänen said.

The defence minister emphasised that Finland’s and Israel’s defence ministries have signed agreements that ensure the weapons system arrangement will be implemented.

Additionally, he pointed out that the Israeli air defence system deal will only come to fruition after a number of years.

Opposition party the Left Alliance has demanded that Finland call off the arms deal with Israel, saying that it is not right to buy arms from a country that maintains an illegal occupation and is known to bomb civilians.

As far as trade balance between the two countries goes, Finland mostly imports weapons from Israel but also exports arms to it.

Conscript accidents

The defence minister also commented on two serious accidents involving military conscripts that resulted in injuries and one death.

On Wednesday, one conscript died and three others were injured in a road accident in Southeastern Finland. The conscripts had been taking part in a military training exercise that morning.

Another incident, on 10 October, occurred during a water training drill, in which nine conscripts from the Uusimaa Brigade were in danger of drowning, seriously injuring one conscript.

Häkkänen said the cases need to be thoroughly investigated, but also stressed that conscripts have a high level of safety measures in place, despite the recent accidents.

“Overall, there are fewer accidents than there were before, but one incident is too many,” Häkkänen said.

Source: Yle

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