Estonia and Finland to sign a missile deal giving them control over the Gulf of Finland

Image of the Gulf of Finland. Credit: Wikipedia - Otto Magnus public domain

An agreement between Estonia and Finland to integrate their coastal missile systems will ultimately see them control the Gulf Of Finland.

 

Hanno Pevkur, the Estonian Defence Minister announced on Saturday, August 13, that Estonia and Finland are to sign a preliminary agreement that would eventually result in both Baltic countries controlling the Gulf of Finland.

Speaking with Finnish publication Iltalehti, Pekvur said: “The Baltic Sea will be Nato’s internal sea when Finland and Sweden have joined Nato. Compared with today, the situation is changing”. Such a deal would potentially cut off Russia’s naval headquarters in St Petersburg from its Baltic fleet, at least by sea.

Kaliningrad would become their only access to this important body of water. It is a small enclave that Russia acquired during World War II, located in between Poland and Lithuania, and is home to Russia’s Baltic Sea Fleet.

Historically, Moscow has always regarded the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea as part of its military territory. Both have great strategic and symbolic significance to Russian maritime movement. 

Yury Shvytkin, the Russian Duma’s defence committee deputy chairman commented: “There are no barriers for Russian warships. We do not seek to escalate tensions, however, such provocative statements require not only condemnation but also retaliatory actions on our part”. No official statement has been released by the Kremlin.

Regular naval exercises are held in the Baltic Sea by NATO and the US Navy, and the area has previously been earmarked as a potential conflict zone by military analysts.

Mr Pevkur continued by revealing that Estonia and Finland intend to integrate their coastal defence systems. “The flight range of Estonian and Finnish missiles is greater than the width of the Gulf of Finland. This means that we can connect our missile defences and share all our information with each other”, he said.

Finland is already equipped with MTO-85M surface-to-sea missiles, while Estonia is due to take receipt of Blue Spear missiles from Proteus Advanced Systems, a joint venture between Israel and Singapore.

When signing the deal last year to purchase the Blue Spear missiles, Estonia’s defence minister at the time, Kalle Laanet, described them as: “One of the most hi-tech weapon systems of all time”.

Estonia’s naval chief, Juri Saska, said the Blue Spear weapon system: “will form the cornerstone of Estonian naval defence for decades to come”.

The Gulf of Finland is a 250-mile-long stretch of water, bordered by both Baltic nations. Finland’s capital city, Helsinki, and Talliin, the capital of Estonia, are located opposite one another at the mouth of the Gulf, with just 35 miles separating them.

The Russian port of St Petersburg can only be reached by sea after first passing through this point. Historically, both Finland and Estonia regard Russia as their enemy, as reported by uk.news.yahoo.com.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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