A record number of people have left Finnish army reserves since the invasion of Russia

A record number of people in the Finnish army reserve moved into civilian service this year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Officials say the trend does not pose difficulties for the country’s national defense.

The number of requests to transfer from the army reserve to civilian service has increased this year, from just 460 requests in 2021 to more than 3,300 so far this year. The trend started at the beginning of the year but accelerated in March after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.

While some believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely played a role in the influx of applications, broadcaster Yle reports that the applications do not ask for the candidates’ motives.

Civil Service Director Mikko Reijonen said the Russian invasion most likely played a role in the number of requests to leave the army reserve, saying that “[p]it is possible that at that time many people also wondered whether their sentence was the same” – but claimed that he did not see this trend as a problem for Finnish national defence.

“The size of the Finnish reserve is around 900,000 people, so it’s a small number. It should also be remembered that those who are required to perform an additional service receive a very good one-week training. Thanks to it, they acquire the necessary skills to act in everyday crises and are also assigned to various tasks in exceptional circumstances,” he said.

Colonel Jukka Nurmi of the Finnish Defense Forces also commented on the trend, saying “we are not worried about the situation”.

“Although the number of people transferred from the reserve to civilian service has increased, these figures must be compared to the size of the reserve and the wartime forces. Compared to them, the numbers are still low,” Nurmi suggested.

Finnish authorities are concerned about Russia’s possible reaction after the country applied to join NATO earlier this year, with some speculating that Russia may attempt to use illegal migrants in a form of hybrid warfare against the Finland.

In July, Finland’s defense chief Timo Kivinen was even more blunt, saying that Finland had been preparing for a possible Russian aggression for decades.

“We have systematically developed our military defense precisely for this type of warfare which is fought [in Ukraine]with massive use of firepower, armored forces and also air forces,” Kivinen said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or by e-mail at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com.


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