The 2022 Ruska exercises, Finish air combat training exercise, end today. The week-long exercises involved over 50 aircraft and nearly
The 2022 Ruska exercises, Finish air combat training exercise, end today.
The week-long exercises involved over 50 aircraft and nearly 4,000 personnel. They were conducted jointly with Sweden, with Swedish jets playing the role of Finnish air defenses and the Finns playing the attacking role. The flights are meant to prepare for actual combat scenarios.
The exercises have taken on a new urgency this year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This aggression prompted Finland and Sweden—who previous followed a neutrality policy—to break with years of precedent and apply for NATO membership. Now, engaging in bilateral training will display the Finnish and Swedish militaries’ prowess and capability for self-defense while they await NATO ascension.
This week’s exercises will most likely send a strong message to Russia that Finland and Sweden are still wary of their larger neighbor’s expansionist ambitions. However, Russia is unlikely to respond aggressively as they are bogged down in Ukraine and unwilling to further fracture the already tense relations. Medium-term, the Ruska exercises highlight to NATO members that the Finnish air forces are capable partners able to integrate into NATO. While NATO expansion will threaten Russian security, it will greatly strengthen Finland against aggression long-term.