Mika Aaltola: MPs’ positions on sending troops to Ukraine show nervousness | Policy

Mika Aaltola MPs positions on sending troops to Ukraine show

In ‘s survey, a small percentage of MPs would be ready to either send troops to Ukraine or not rule out this option.

About half of the respondents said no, a good third did not take a stand.

Director of the Foreign Policy Institute Mika Aaltolan I think it’s nervousness.

– I don’t think there are dividing lines, but nervousness as the general situation is going better for Russia than imagined.

What is the West doing now? Will it invest in improving NATO’s defense capabilities? Should we put bangs on it or hit Russia in Ukraine so that we don’t have to face it closer? This is how Aaltola describes the “paths of thought” that are currently taking place in Finland’s internal debate.

asked MPs whether EU countries should send soldiers to support Ukraine if Ukraine is losing the war against Russia. 103 representatives answered the survey. 11 of them answered the question positively.

Most of those who answered yes can be found in the Greens and the coalition.

The reasons of the MPs who answered yes vary. Some specify that troops could be sent to various support missions. This is how, for example, the greens respond Atte Harjanne and the convention Pauli Kiuru.

Some do not list the conditions for the support, for example the constitution Ville Valkonen. Aura Salla (co.) answers that troops should not be sent now, but it should not be ruled out either.

The deployment of troops was delayed by the French president at the end of February Emmanuel Macron. He did not get support for his idea from other countries.

In the end, Macron’s intention remained unclear: On the other hand, French diplomats soon explained that Macron was not talking about the fighting forces. On the other hand, his message was considered to obscure what the West really intends with regard to Ukraine. He himself said that every word was weighed.

Dizziness causes a headache

Aaltola interprets that the situation confuses Finnish MPs.

– In a way, this kind of ambiguity was wanted to be created, and it is giving Finnish parliamentarians a headache as to how they should react to this. Clearly, we have ownership of the war, but a large number of MPs do not want to see participation in the defense of Ukraine.

Finland’s official position on the matter is negative. The position was formed under the president’s leadership in the government’s foreign and security policy committee, when Niinistö was in his last week as president and participated in Macron’s discussions.

At the time, Niinistö replied to by email that “there was a widely shared perception that a military presence would not be undertaken. This was also Finland’s position”. At that time, the ministers did not want to take a position on the matter.

Foreign minister Elina Valtonen the position has been a little less straightforward. On March 18, Valtonen said According to Ilta-Sanom to Politico, that it is important not to rule everything out in the long term because we cannot know how serious the situation will develop. Yelle Valtonen said at the beginning of April that Finland is not considering sending troops and is not discussing it. However, according to Valtonen, the discussion may be appropriate.

The President of the Republic, Alexander Stubb, said during his visit to Ukraine at the beginning of April that there is no reason to send troops now.

No European country is in favor of sending troops. In the Baltic countries, according to diplomatic sources, the stance has not been quite as strong, but they are not planning it either.

Aaltola: The war has already escalated creepily

The West has supported Ukraine by handing over weapons, but more slowly and sparingly than Ukraine would have needed to cope with Russia. The frontline froze in place almost two years ago.

In Aalto’s opinion, both perspectives have their reasons:

– The fact that you don’t send troops and don’t get involved in that way and don’t want a direct conflict. And then the fact that this matter has to be taken care of

Aaltola also considers the position of some MPs to be understandable, that Russia must face a “counterforce” at some point.

– Russia may well be ready to cross and push across the NATO border. In that sense, supporting Ukraine also directly by sending soldiers and weapons sounds like a perfectly reasonable option.

So far, the deployment of troops has been ruled out because it has been feared that it would expand or accelerate the war.

– Russia wants to emphasize its own great power position in a broad way. Finland’s eastern border is also closed at the moment, which means the war has already escalated quite a bit, says Aaltola.

In Aaltola’s opinion, the West should go one step further in its discussion than now. Talking about victory and supporting Ukraine is noble, but it is not enough.

– But what if the support has not been sufficient, but rather backward, and if we fail. What do you do in that situation when the day comes after that?

And in Aaltola’s opinion, would it be worth sending troops at some point?

In Aaltola’s opinion, Finland should not necessarily be in this group. Instead, great powers such as France or the United States need to keep Russia on its toes so that the war does not escalate.