According to Rauhanpuolustajat, the maneuvers can only intensify the Arctic arms race, prompting Russia to bolster its presence in its northernmost Murmansk Region.
"Our neighbor will probably react to this new policy by strengthening its military capabilities near the border. We are hereby promoting the acceleration of the arms race in our vicinity instead of offering ways of avoiding it," Rauhanpuolustajat chairman Teemu Matinpuro told Finnish national broadcaster Yle.
Teemu Matinpuro also suggested that NATO not only did not add to Finland's security, but rather escalated the outer threats.
"In my opinion, Finnish non-alignment is the best guarantee of not being involved in conflicts between major powers. The military threat to Finland alone is improbable," Teemu Matinpuro said in a statement.
According to the latest poll, 51 percent of Finns were against NATO membership, whereas 21 percent supported the idea of joining the alliance, the rest being undecided.
In his interview with Yle, Rauhanpuolustajat chairman Teemu Matinpuro claimed it to be unreasonable to suggest that criticism of NATO would be in Russia's favor and illogical to shift the debate to the "Russian" accusations. Matinpuro denied any Russian bias by specifically stressing that his organization had explicitly condemned Crimea's re-unification with Russia as illegal.
At the height of the Cold War, the Rauhanpuolustajat were accused of acting at the behest of the Soviet Union. The organization was known for its staunch criticism of the US and NATO member countries. Today, the Rauhanpuolustajat oppose Finland's accession to NATO and is facing perennial criticism for being "pro-Russian."
Rovaniemi is situated near the Arctic Circle and has a population of over 60,000. During WW2, 90 percent of the city was destroyed. Today, Rovaniemi is a popular tourist destination, as well as the official home of Santa Claus.
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