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United States to gain access to 15 military bases in Finland

Finland will sign a defence agreement next week giving the United States access to 15 military bases in NATO’s newest member, the Finnish defence ministry said on Friday. “The Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) is to be signed in Washington DC” on Monday by Defence Minister Antti Hakkanen and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the foreign affairs ministry said. The treaty must then be approved by the Nordic country’s parliament. “The DCA will strengthen Finland’s defence because it enables the presence and training of US forces and the prepositioning of defence material in the territory of Finland,” the foreign ministry continued. “It will also support the implementation of NATO’s deterrence and defence.” Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen will be present in Washington during the signing to meet Blinken. The United States signed a similar pact with Sweden on December 6 that gives Washington access to 17 military bases. Concerns raised by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led both Finland and Sweden to abandon their long-standing military non-alignment and apply for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Finland joined in April, while Sweden is still waiting for its bid to be ratified by NATO members Hungary and Turkey.

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