October 20, 2017

In a lengthy interview in Russian paper Kommersant published Friday, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said Finland is not afraid of anything, including Russia. On Thursday Soini said that Finland should establish a new ‘hybrid threat ambassador’ to deal with hybrid threats, during comments he made while at a national defense course association meeting in Helsinki.

In an extensive interview with Russian daily Kommersant published Friday, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said that Russia is not a threat to Finland.

“Finland does not find Russia threatening and does not fear anything. I believe this is generally accepted,” Soini told the paper.

He went on to say that Finland’s foreign policy is based on cooperation and upholding good relationships, especially with bordering countries.

Soini also said that like other EU countries, Finland does not condone Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Crimea, and is in favour of political sanctions against Russia.

Soini: Hybrid threat ambassador needed

Soini also spoke at the autumn meeting of the National Defense Course Association, saying that the Foreign Ministry needs to establish the office of hybrid threat ambassador who would be tasked with improving the ministry’s capabilities in dealing with hybrid threats.

“Hybrid attacks can come from anywhere. This has nothing to do with any specific country. We do not attack and we fear no one,” Soini is quoted saying in Kommersant.

Finland has employed a Cyber Ambassador – Pia Rantala-Engberg, who deals with cyber affairs and cyber security issues at the ministry – for the past three years.

FM: Finland not ruling out NATO membership

The Russian paper’s questions also turned towards the military alliance NATO.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of joining NATO,” Soini said. “Every country should have that opportunity and that is why open-door politics is important to us.”

The minister went on to say that the current government does not consider joining NATO a priority currently.

Finland and 11 other EU and NATO countries founded the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in September.