As the rhetoric of Russian officials continues to fueltensionsby fostering verbal escalations,the last weeks have seenan increased fear of themilitarisation of spaceby the Kremlin,against the backdrop of European military leaders’ general doubts about the West’s readiness to assist and supply Kyiv sustainably in its continued defence efforts.On 17 February 2024, at the Munich Security Conference, Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced his concerns regardingalleged Russianplans to install satellite-disrupting technology as well as unconventional weaponry in outer space (New York Times, 2014). Such claims, if proven to be true, would constitute a clear breach of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty of the non-militarisation of outer space and potentially harm the worldwide transmission of data to global positioning systems (GPS) (Starling and Massa, 2024).This would,in turn, constitute a novel transgression ofinternational lawwhich,inthe absence of deterring sanctioning tools, would likely once again result ina loss of credibility for the international system (The Conversation, 2024b).Until then, the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty had established a common framework for the prohibition of nuclear testing and stationing of unconventional missiles in space (The Conversation, 2024a).The Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies reported that Russia allegedly went ahead with testing anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons as far back as 2021 against formerly operable Soviet space satellites, while simultaneously planning and carrying out routine exercises of cyber- and jamming attacks against neighbouring spatial equipment (BBC, 2024).
The war in Ukraine is teaching us the importance of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in reconnaissance because they are cheaper to produce and run than conventional military aircraft. UAVs have played a significant role in Ukrainian intel gathering. This signal has been picked up by the military industry in the United States and changes have been made accordingly. On the other side of the Atlantic, Europe already made the same move in 2019.
In recent years, the EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence has assumed paramount importance, driven by shifts in the geopolitical landscape and the imperative to update collective policy approaches. In this context, the enlargement of NATO and the ramifications of the Russo-Ukrainian war pose significant questions (Kolovos, A., 2023). More specifically, these geopolitical shifts underscore the urgent need for a unified defence system against potential common threats. This is an especially complicated task considering that the space domain presents nuanced challenges akin to those of the Arctic, where borders lack the tangible delineation seen in traditional realms of air, land, or maritime boundaries. In this sense, the new approach to space defence and security includes both military considerations and political and legal dimensions.
Azerbaijan, backed by Russia, has made clear that it will not hesitate to use force to open the Zangezur Corridor (also known as Meghri Corridor) through the Armenian territory to its exclave of Nakhchivan and its ‘brother’ Turkey. The attack occurred from Azerbaijani positions within Armenian territory that had been previously invaded. The fact that the incident occurred within the sovereign state borders of Armenia fuels the growing security concerns of the Armenian population, sceptical about the peaceful coexistence alongside Azerbaijan. On 13 February, the Armenian Ministry of Defence released a statement that four soldiers were killed and one was wounded in an Azerbaijani open fire at a post in the southern region of Armenia’s Syunik. In return, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence claimed that Armenian troops fired on the village of Kokhanabi in Azerbaijan’s Tovuz District on the evening of 12 February, injuring one border guard and prompting the launch of a “retaliatory operation” in revenge.
Finland’s official entry into NATO on 4 April 2023 marked the culmination of a meticulously orchestrated 11-month accession process, catalysed by the destabilising events surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While Finland’s accession to NATO may appear straightforward, it was expedited in light of the urgent security imperatives prompted by the invasion. Nevertheless, the transition to NATO membership calls for careful consideration of the multifaceted security dynamics between Finland and the alliance. In this context, this paper endeavours to cast a forward-looking perspective, examining the future trajectory of NATO-Finnish cooperation post-accession. Concretely, it will look at what the next steps are that NATO and Finland could and/or should take after the latter’s accession to the former. Central to this exploration is an assessment of the potential avenues for Finland to further integrate into NATO’s operational framework. Specifically, a detailed analysis will be undertaken to evaluate the feasibility and implications of expanding NATO’s presence within Finnish territory through initiatives such as the enhanced forward presence (eFP). Then, the paper will explore the prospects for enhanced collaboration within the Northern Group, leveraging Finland’s NATO membership to deepen regional defence cooperation. Furthermore, consideration will be given to the merits of Finland joining the Bucharest Nine (B9) group, elucidating the potential benefits and strategic imperatives associated with such a move.