Beneath Hakaniemi Square in Helsinki, Finland, with a depth of 25 meters, is located one of the most modern bunkers: the Merihaka civilian shelter.
Finland’s possible entry into NATO and Russia’s threats to prevent it raise fears of an outbreak of a conflict similar to that in Ukrainebut in the Nordic countries they created a massive air-raid shelter network and their strategic supply reserves where they think they are ready to face any attack, and even challenge Vladimir Putin to them.
Since World War II Finland has developed about 54,000 civil defense shelters in the centers with the largest population, where a total of 4.4 million people can be sheltered -80% of the current population-.
next to the middle Helsinki Hakaniemi Squareexcavated in granite subsoil 25 meters deep, hides one of the most modern: the civilian refuge of Merihaka.
The Merihaka civil shelter in Helsinki was built 25 meters below the surface. You go down through the elevator and stairs.
Inaugurated in 2003, this large 14,750 square meter bunker with a capacity for 6,000 people has underground car parking and a sports center with cafeteria, gym, several “floorball” courts and a playground.Like other air-raid shelters, in the event of an armed conflict, it can be arranged in less than 72 hours to protect the civilian population, as required by Finnish law.
“We’re in a state-of-the-art shelter built on bedrock and that means it can contain the impact of conventional weapons and including, to some extent, nuclear“, Explanation kimmo kohvakkadirector general of rescue services of the Ministry of Interior. The shelter is also there filter systems for radioactive particles and harmful substances, such as those used in chemical and biological weapons, making it, says Kohvakka, a “very, very safe” place.
All bookers have parking. They estimate that 50,000 buses can park in the entire Finnish network.
According to Kohvakka, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused concern among Finns that a similar thing could happen in Finland, where Russia shares 1,340 kilometers of border, although he relied on the high level of preparation of the Nordic country.
“Certainly there has been an increase in concern, it is clear that the Finnish population has responded to the situation. But on the other hand, we are very confident that, in our case, we are ready for anything to happen“, it said.
Kohvakka admitted that the last two Soviet wars between 1939 and 1944 they are “one of the main reasons” that Finland, almost eight decades later, continues to maintain a comprehensive view of its defense capabilities and resilience to any threat, in which the whole society is involved.
Beneath Hakaniemi Square of Helsinki in Finland, the modern Merihaka hideaway also has fields for winter sports.
Jani Pitkanen, commander of Helsinki rescue services, agreed with him and said that “because of our history, civil defense and preparedness are part of our nature”.
“In Helsinki, with a population of 650,000, there are approximately 5,500 shelters with a capacity for 900,000 peopleso we have space for all residents and people passing by, ”Pitkänen explains.
Finland is ready to defend itself against Russia
Such proliferation of bunkers is due to that fact Finnish law requires a shelter to be included in all buildings and newly constructed residential or office complexes with a floor size of more than 1,200 square meters.
Therefore, around 85% of the available shelters are privately owned and are often used for other purposes, such as car parks, warehouses or leisure facilities.
Finland’s fallout shelters have swimming pools and bunk beds for hundreds of thousands of people.
The painful experience of the Soviet invasion in 1939 taught the Finnish people the importance of having supplies available to meet any possibilitywhether it is a war, a natural disaster or a pandemic.
Places for children and sports recreation, under Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
Since then, Finland has continued to maintain strategic reserves of products considered valuable, including fuel, medicine, masks, cereals, seeds and non -perishable foodscovering needs over several months.
How is the Finnish army?
High military capacity is the link that completes the so -called “comprehensive security strategy” of the Nordic countries.
Finland maintains at all times the compulsory military service; forced military service and its Armed Forces has 280,000 troops for times of war and close to 900,000 reservesthat is, more than a third of the adult male population.
Their military costs planned for 2022 is 5,100 million euros, equivalent to 1.96% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is close to the 2% goal established by NATO for its member countries.
Currently, the Finnish army has nearly 1.2 million personnel ready to fight. Photo: Reuters.
NATO itself, through its Secretary -General, Jens Stoltenberg, has ensured that Finland meets all military requirements to immediately join the Alliance if it wishes.
Two months before Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland closed a deal worth 8.378 million euros to get 64 F35-A fighters, combat missiles and auxiliary equipment of American manufacturer Lockheed Martin, in the largest defense transaction in its history.