Finland is to decide this week on how it will participate in a European project to deliver Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine to help defend itself against Russia.
Yle has learned that the government will meet on Thursday to consider a proposal on the issue from the Ministry of Defence. If approved, it will then be presented to President Sauli Niinistö for his signature.
There has been speculation that Finland may take part in the project by offering maintenance services and/or donating a few tanks.
Defence Minister Mikko Savola (Cen) said in late January that Finland would participate in the Leopard project.
However, the Finnish input is not expected to be large as the Leopards are important for Finland’s own defence. The country has the EU’s longest land border with Russia at 1,340 kilometres.
Ukraine braces for spring offensive
A general European agreement in principle on sending Leopard tanks after Britain and the United States had decided to donate some of their own battle tanks to Ukraine. However, none of the equipment has yet been delivered.
Ukraine has warned that it expects a major new Russian offensive this spring, possibly accelerating around the time of the anniversary of the invasion on 25 February last year.
German-made Leopard 2 tanks are used by the armed forces of 14 European countries, as well as many others around the world.
The Finnish Defence Forces have around 200 German-made Leopard 2A6 battle tanks. The four-person vehicles weigh nearly 60,000 kilos each and carry a variety of armament.