Russian bombers and fighters penetrate 1,55mi into Finland

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On June 10, the Finnish Ministry of Defense reported a potential breach of Finnish airspace by a “Russian military aircraft” near Loviisa, a town situated just under 100 km from Helsinki.

Photo credit: InfiniteFlight

That day marked notable air activity from Russian forces, which included the flight of several Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers. These aircraft were escorted by Su-30SM, Su-27, and Su-33 fighters, flying over the Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea, and Baltic Sea.

Additionally, Eurofighter EF-2000 fighter jets from Germany, stationed in NATO’s Latvia, were dispatched to intercept two Su-27 fighters and an Il-20 Coot electronic reconnaissance aircraft. These Russian aircraft were operating near the Baltic states without submitting advance flight plans or activating transponders.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

In its official statement, contrasting a previous incident involving two MiG-31s in August 2022, the Finnish Ministry of Defense did not specify the type of Russian aircraft involved in this breach. Based on the provided data, the aircraft reportedly traveled 2.5 km [1,55mi] into Finnish territory before turning back, with the incursion lasting approximately two minutes. 

“We take any suspicion of territorial violation very seriously,” stated Finnish Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen. “Border officers carry out the preliminary investigations in cases of border breaches.” 

Just four days later, the first elements of this investigation emerged, revealing the situation was more serious than initially thought.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

“As the investigation continued, it became evident that at least three other aircraft were involved in this territorial breach. This offense appears to have been committed by a group of four aircraft, including two bombers and two fighters. The investigation will proceed next week, and we will share the final results once it’s completed,” explained the Finnish Border Guard Agency, under the Ministry’s jurisdiction. 

In this context, while deploying four F/A-18 Hornets in Romania under NATO, the Finnish Air Force did not initially respond to this incident. This was not addressed in the Ministry of Defense’s first press release. However, back in August 2022, one of their fighter jets did intercept two MiG-31s that briefly entered Finnish airspace. Interestingly, these “alleged” violations coincided with Russia initiating nuclear exercises with Belarus.

A chilly saga 

Photo credit: Defense News

For over 600 years, Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden until Sweden ceded it to the Russian Empire in 1809. Under Russian control, Finland had a special autonomous status as a grand duchy. When the Russian Empire collapsed in 1917, Finland gained independence. 

In 1940, the Soviet Union tested Finland’s independence in the Winter War. Despite a strong defense, the Soviets annexed parts of Finland, including its second-largest city. Finland remained independent, but the conflict left deep scars and a lingering belief that Russia might return. 

During the Cold War, Finland went through a phase called “Finlandization.” It kept its independence but couldn’t really stand up to the Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union fell, Finland joined the European Union and NATO, gaining full political freedom. 

Photo credit: USAF

Since the Winter War, Finland has been preparing for possible conflict with Russia. As you drive through Finland, you’ll see remote highways set up for fighter jets—showing their defense strategy. This setup lets Finland quickly move its air force if war starts, assuming that regular air bases might be targeted first. 

Finland follows a “total defense” strategy to handle potential threats, according to the Financial Times. The Finnish Air Force is strong for its size and currently flies F/A-18 fighter jets. These will soon be upgraded to advanced F-35 Lightning IIs.

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