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Russia has begun stocking its military bases on the Finnish border, according to satellite images posted by Finnish publication Yle.
The images show new warehouses to store and service military vehicles and equipment going up at the military depot in Petrozavodsk and the Alakurtti military base.
These are the first visible signs that Russia has begun investing in the readiness of its border bases near Finland after many years of inactivity, Yle reported. Finnish Defense Minister Antti Häkkänen said they don't present an immediate threat to his country's security.
The improvements may be connected to Russia's intention to supply equipment to the Ukrainian front, from the Petrozavodsk base. A retired Finnish major told Yle that a warehouse there looks like it's built for maintenance.
Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu talked about plans to bolster border forces in the area.
Finland officially joined NATO on April 4, becoming the 31st member of the alliance. Sweden is on the path to join as well after Turkey publicly dropped its objections.
For most of the second half of the 20th century, Finland held to a neutrality agreement imposed by the Soviet Union in 1948. This agreement fell apart at the same time as the Soviet Union, which had previously threatened and invaded Finland.
Moscow blamed its Ukraine invasions on NATO, claiming it was trying to contain the alliance's dangerous expansion into Russia's backyard. These supposed justifications backfired, fueling the Northern European states' renewed interest in NATO membership.
Ukraine was promised a seat in the alliance in the future during a July summit in Vilnius. However, allies did not explain when this would happen or what Ukraine would have to do first. This caused frustration among Ukraine's national leadership.