(MENAFN) In a significant move, Finland has announced its commitment to produce artillery shells for Ukraine, citing the arming of Kiev as a "vital issue" for Helsinki, according to Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen. The decision, expected to be finalized soon, comes as Finland, a NATO member since last year, seeks to enhance its munitions production capabilities to better support Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.
Hakkanen emphasized that Finland's priority in its communications with NATO and the European Union is to encourage larger European countries to ramp up munitions production, underscoring the importance of preparedness for both Finland and the Nordic countries. The plan to boost shell production is estimated to cost "tens of millions of euros," reported Iltalehti.
The Finnish Defense Ministry revealed that the country has already provided Ukraine with substantial military assistance, totaling EUR1.5 billion (approximately USD1.63 billion) since the outbreak of the conflict in February 2022. A recent announcement in November unveiled an additional EUR100 million package. This latest commitment solidifies Finland's dedication to supporting Ukraine during these challenging times.
The European Union had earlier pledged to supply Kiev with 1 million shells by March 2024. However, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius acknowledged last month that the ambitious goal may not be achieved due to insufficient production capacities in European nations.
Finland's decision to step up its munitions production aligns with its continued efforts to bolster Ukraine's defense capabilities. As the country celebrates Christmas on December 25, the government aims to finalize all plans related to this initiative. This strategic move not only reinforces Finland's commitment to Ukraine but also signals an increased focus on collective security within the European region.
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