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Finland readying for David & Goliath war at ‘Arctic Sparta’ base where Putin’s troops face slaughter on Nato’s doorstep

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IN a small Finnish town on the border with Russia, just 20 miles of forest lie between the Lapland Border Guard and Putin’s blood-thirsty troops.

The military base in the settlement of Ivalo has been dubbed Nato’s “Arctic Sparta” and is now the closest US troops can be stationed to mainland Russia.

Finland's Border Guard base has been dubbed Nato's "Arctic Sparta" and could become a WW3 flashpoint

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Finland’s Border Guard base has been dubbed Nato’s “Arctic Sparta” and could become a WW3 flashpointCredit: Alamy
Finland's fearsome Jaeger Brigade are also close to the Ivalo Border Guard their Arctic combat training course is used by armies from around the world

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Finland’s fearsome Jaeger Brigade are also close to the Ivalo Border Guard their Arctic combat training course is used by armies from around the worldCredit: Alamy
The region is known for its -30C temperature and hostile wilderness ideal for trying elite snow soldiers

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The region is known for its -30C temperature and hostile wilderness ideal for trying elite snow soldiersCredit: The US Army
The Ivalo base is the closest US troops can be based to mainland Russia - just 20 miles away

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The Ivalo base is the closest US troops can be based to mainland Russia – just 20 miles awayCredit: Finnish Border Guard

While the US has similar agreements to use military bases with other Nato allies such as Latvia, Norway and Estonia, It’s feared the Finnish Border Guard crossing could become a flashpoint if war-mad Putin looks to set his sights on the West.

Even more so after being bolstered by his landslide win in Russia’s sham elections.

The base is also just 200 miles away from Vlad’s Arctic Nothern Fleet where his prized nuclear submarines sit at the Port of Murmansk.

Being Finland’s and the EU’s most northern garrison, Ivalo could stand in Vlad’s way if he were to attack Nato’s border and push his troops to Norway’s coastline, a former Finnish general has warned.

Given its geographical location and the fact that forces from the Western alliance could be stationed there at any time – the elite Arctic base could become a Kremlin target.

But former Finnish general and now MP Pekka Toveri told The Sun that if Putin’s army were to attack Ivalo or any of its garrisons along its 832-mile-long border with Vlad it would be a Russian bloodbath.

Talking exclusively to The Sun Pekka said: “Even though we have a long border with Russia we have an incredible capability to protect it against military attack.

“Yes we have a long border with Russia…but you have to remember that over 80 per cent of that border is total wilderness.

“To attack there is extremely difficult and Russia tried that in both the Winter War and the Continental War and they learnt that it was a bad idea as they were encircled and destroyed.”

During the Winter War of 1939, the Nordic country’s rudimentary troops slaughtered 200,000 invading Russian soldiers.

Russia issues chilling nuke warning as Finland’s entry into Nato takes bloc just 78 miles from Putin’s home city

In chilling echoes, Finland believed the Soviet Union wanted to expand into its territory, while the Russians feared Helsinki would allow enemies to use the country as a base to attack.

However, the Red Army was ill-equipped and unable to cope with the brutal winter while the small but resilient Finnish troops fought tooth and nail.

In the years that followed the Winter War, Finland remained neutral while still being under the influence of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991.

But it was the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 that saw Finland push for Nato’s backing despite having defended itself alone for many years.

The country, with a population of just five million, has become one of the most combat-ready forces in Europe.

Finland is so battle-ready that if you want to build a block of flats it must include a bomb shelter, if you want to build a bridge it must be built in such a way as to withstand attacks.

If an IT company wants to provide phone connections there, it must be able to run the system during wartime to be granted a license.

Even the batteries of tanks in storage remain fully charged at all times in preparation for an imminent invasion.

Former Finnish General Pekka Toveri told The Sun: “At the same as keeping up defence capabilities we also took care of what we call comprehensive security, meaning the whole society is preparing for possible conflict.

“I always say that Finland doesn’t have a defence force, it is a defence force, and now when we are living in a time like this, it turns out to be the right solution.”

It is also one of few European countries to have retained conscription through decades of peace.

Pekka added: “So we kept up conscription, we have a big country in European terms with a small population, the only way to defend the whole country is to have a large reserve.”

Finland trains more than 21,000 new conscripts every year, with 285,000 reservists ready to go to war at any given moment – making it the biggest wartime reserve infantry in Nato.

They are all trained and equipped with one primary aim – to repel any Russian invasion.

In Ivalo, the latest recruits, aged between 19 and 21, are given buzz cuts, are kitted out with military uniforms and taken on reconnaissance missions along the Russian border.

They will be trained to become an elite Arctic fighting force surviving in hostile -30C temperatures.

Just 100 miles south of the Ivalo base, Sodankyla is the home of Finland’s fearsome Jaeger Brigade established during WWI.

The special forces unit’s winter combat course is considered to be the ultimate in Arctic warfare training with the US and the UK all sending soldiers to complete it.

When asked if US troops could be stationed at the Lapland Border Guard, Pekka explained that it would be unlikely at least for now.

Finland has a long history of standing steadfast and defending its own borders and Nato troops would be better placed in the Baltics, the ex-general told The Sun.

He said: “They are much much more vulnerable than we are.”

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Troops from the Finnish Army drive Leopard tanks in an exchange of fire with “enemy troops” during a training exercise in March this year

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Troops from the Finnish Army drive Leopard tanks in an exchange of fire with “enemy troops” during a training exercise in March this yearCredit: Getty
Over 200,000 Russian troops were slaughtered by the Finnish during the Winter War - and it could happen again if Vlad were to attack Finland, a MP has warned

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Over 200,000 Russian troops were slaughtered by the Finnish during the Winter War – and it could happen again if Vlad were to attack Finland, a MP has warnedCredit: Alamy
Finland is only one of a few countries to maintain conscription during peacetime and is one of Europe's most combat-ready countries

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Finland is only one of a few countries to maintain conscription during peacetime and is one of Europe’s most combat-ready countriesCredit: Getty
British troops (pictured) are seen training with Finland's elite snow forces

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British troops (pictured) are seen training with Finland’s elite snow forcesCredit: The Finnish Army
A Norwegian soldier taking part in a training exercise on the Finland and Norway border during the Nordic Response war games this year

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A Norwegian soldier taking part in a training exercise on the Finland and Norway border during the Nordic Response war games this yearCredit: Getty

Finland’s ground force also boasts 650 tanks with about 200 of them being German-made Leopards types 2A6 and 2A4.

Its impressive artillery has more than 1,500 weapons including 700 howitzers, 700 mortars, and about 100 rocket launchers.

Helsinki recently bought the David’s Sling high-altitude air defence system from Israel and 64 F-35s from the States.

The Finnish Air Force and Navy are also not to be scoffed at – commanding impressive fleets in both regards, which are set to grow within the next ten years.

All this plus the backing of its Western allies makes Finland a force to be reckoned with.

But the MP says that if Russia wanted to take Norway and dominate the Arctic Circle, the only way it could do so would be through Nothern Finland.

Meaning Ivalo could become a flashpoint for Russian aggression.

But Pekka told The Sun that any attacks from Russia on the base and Finland’s well-protected borders would be unsuccessful.

He added: “I’m confident they would fail.

“Every route you can possibly use to come to Finland we have prepared to defend those.

“Their lines of communication and logistics lines are impossible to protect, we have superiority on the ground and in the air.”

While he says Russia wouldn’t want to come up against Nato’s military might, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t want to test it.

He warned: “If they can’t face us toe-to-toe with missile force they will use hybrid means.

“…Nothing could be easier for us than the Russians driving tanks across the border, we have been preparing for that for decades. Nato was built for that.

“But hybrid attacks are much more demanding as we’ve seen.”

VLAD’S ARCTIC TAKEOVER

After its ascension to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in April 2023, Putin declared it “would take the necessary measures to counter the aggressive decisions of Finland and its NATO allies.

He also warned in a recent interview with Russian state TV that the Kremlin is set to deploy troops and weapons to the Finnish border.

However, Putin has long had his eyes set on the Arctic Circle where the West trails Russia in military presence.

When asked about its geographical importance being so close to Vlad’s Nothern Fleet of nuclear submarines he explains that the Arctic is very important to the Kremlin and the Kola Peninsula is the gateway.

He referred to comments made by US Senator John McCain in 2014 calling Russia, “a gas station run by a Mafia that is masquerading as a country.”

Pekka said: “Their economy is based on gas and oil and since field Siberia is getting lower and lower the Arctic is becoming more important because there is more of it.

“And in typical Russian way, they won’t procure it through cooperation they want to procure it through military force.

“… That’s one reason why they have their strongest fleet there, that’s why they have over two-thirds of their ballistic nuclear missile submarines there.

“…And now the relationship has gone from bad to worse, the Arctic is actually the only area where Russia is currently militarily stronger than the West.

“Because they have been arming the Arctic for last 15 years.”

It comes as Putin shows signs of sticking eerily close to his “ten-point war plan” as he warned Nato boots in Ukraine mean war.

A military report leaked in January detailed the Russian tyrant’s possible “path to conflict” – beginning this February this year and ending in 2025.

The secret documents, obtained by Bild from Germany’s Ministry of Defence, laid out how Europe is preparing for the Kremlin boss to expand his country’s war in Ukraine and attack Nato troops next year.

It defined potential scenarios which could unfold in the next two years, beginning this February with Putin mobilising more soldiers.

It would then see a fresh spring offensive with more attacks on the West before attempting to destabilise the Baltics.

It would all lead to Nato sending 300,000 troops to its eastern flank to counter the growing threat from Russia.

The Northern Fleet nuclear submarine Oryol in Murmansk Port near the Finnish border

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The Northern Fleet nuclear submarine Oryol in Murmansk Port near the Finnish borderCredit: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation
The former Finnish general and now MP Pekka Toveri warned that Russia could look to push through Nato's border to Norway's coastline

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The former Finnish general and now MP Pekka Toveri warned that Russia could look to push through Nato’s border to Norway’s coastlineCredit: www.mtvuutiset.f
A former Finnish general says Russia would know better than to take on the military might of Nato on its doorstep

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A former Finnish general says Russia would know better than to take on the military might of Nato on its doorstepCredit: Getty
Vlad's Northern Fleet is looking to conquer the Arctic Circle, Pekka Toveri has said

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Vlad’s Northern Fleet is looking to conquer the Arctic Circle, Pekka Toveri has saidCredit: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

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