Although 20 member states of the European Union signed a landmark treaty in Oslo banning the use of cluster bombs, one surprising holdout was Finland. The Nordic nation has been extremely vocal in its opposition to the ban, claiming that it still needs to keep cluster munitions in its arsenal to help properly defend its 1,300km border with Russia.
Seven other EU members did not sign the treaty either, including big names like France and the UK. Speaking to Radio Netherlands, Miriam Struyck of the Dutch NGO NKV Pax Christi alluded to Finland’s lingering fears over its more powerful neighbour, Russia, especially after the August conflict with Georgia.
The Finns seem to understand the ineffectiveness of cluster bombs, especially since they can just as easily kill Finnish soldiers on the battlefield. Yet Laura Lodinius of the Finnish Peace Union says that the Finns still feel safer having cluster munitions on hand.
This is not the first time Finland has rejected international disarmament treaties, however. It originally refused to sign the Ottawa ban on landmines over the same fears concerning its long border with Russia. It has since signed off on the landmine ban, but sees cluster munitions as its last defensive resort.