Even as funding for Ukraine still hasn’t passed the US Congress, the Biden administration has found more ways to secure the defense of the beleaguered nation. Washington cut a deal on December 19 with Japan to provide Patriot missiles for their stockpile, which would “give Washington flexibility to send more of the sophisticated air defenses to Ukraine,” according to a Washington Post article.
It continues, “Faced with a dangerous shortfall in Ukraine’s air defenses and no easy resolution to the funding impasse in Congress, Washington has increasingly leaned on allies to provide urgent weapons support.”
The US also signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement with Finland on December 18. According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the signing, when the agreement passes Finland’s congress “our militaries will be able to collaborate more efficiently and more effectively. Our troops will have more opportunities to train together, and we will bolster NATO’s interoperability.”
The DCA will allow US troops to occupy Finland’s numerous military bases on the border with Russia.
“Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Allies activated NATO’s defence plans and deployed thousands of extra troops from both sides of the Atlantic,” according to the NATO website. “Over 40,000 troops, along with significant air and naval assets, are now under direct NATO command in the eastern part of the Alliance, supported by tens of thousands more from Allies’ national deployments.”
“Today is just the latest demonstration of the United States comprehensive effort to bolster transatlantic security,” said Blinken. “Last year we amended our Defense Cooperation Agreement with Norway. Earlier this month we signed a new defense agreement with Sweden. Later this week we will sign a new agreement with Denmark. And of course, today we will be doing this with Finland.”
NATO was founded “in 1949 as a counterweight to the Soviet Union,” and Finland “is no stranger to working with NATO, with its troops regularly participating in NATO exercises under a partner status,” wrote CNN in April, as Finland became a formal member of the group.
NATO isn’t currently fighting in Ukraine. According to the NATO website, they don’t want a “direct conflict with Russia. This would significantly escalate the war and lead to more human suffering and destruction for all countries involved.” Such might be the case if Russia were strong.
Instead, the United States and other Western countries put a host of sanctions on Russian trade, businesses and political personalities. They have also supplied weapons to Ukraine in an effort to weaken the giant.
But now with U.S. troops training on the Finland border with Russia, the scenario could change. “Russia is weaker militarily, economically, diplomatically,” said Blinken during a press briefing on December 20.
Whatever the case, Finland is a valuable partner. Blinken said during the DCA signing, “Already Finland is making significant contributions to the Alliance, sharing technical expertise, hosting and joining NATO military exercises, meeting and exceeding the NATO target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense… providing more than $2 billion in defense support, in humanitarian aid, and other assistance.”
In his support of the Ukraine funding that has yet to pass Congress, Blinken assured the public during the press briefing that “ninety percent of the security assistance that we provided to Ukraine has been spent here in the United States, benefiting American businesses, workers, communities, strengthening our nation’s defense industrial base.”
The Washington Post article stated, “Japan manufactures missiles for the Patriot, the U.S. military’s premier air defense system, under license from Raytheon.”
The article also mentions, “Japan, concerned that Russia’s invasion could embolden China to take similar action against Taiwan, has been a supporter of Ukraine.”