Jarmo Lindberg spoke at the opening ceremony off the National Defence Course in Helsinki on Monday. He announced he will not seek another term as the Chief of Defence at the Finnish Defence Forces. (Credit: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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GENERAL Jarmo Lindberg announced he will not seek another term as the Chief of Defence at the Finnish Defence Forces in Helsinki on Monday, 21 January.

Lindberg made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the National Defence Course, revealing that he will relinquish his duties once his current, five-year term has come to its end in August 2019.

“If you pull your finger out of a cup of water, it won’t leave a hole,” he was quoted as saying by Helsingin Sanomat.

The announcement kindled speculation about both the upcoming fighter jet acquisition by the Finnish Air Force and the criminal investigation into the actions of ex-commander of the Karelia Air Command Markus Päiviö and commander of the Finnish Air Force Sampo Eskelinen.

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Päiviö is suspected of abuse of superior position, service offence and defamation over events that took place during a voluntary military refresher in Inari, Finnish Lapland, in September 2017. Eskelinen, in turn, is suspected of service offence for neglecting his duty to ensure the ensuing pre-trial investigation was carried out without undue delay.

The Office of the Prosecutor General asked the National Bureau of Investigation (KRP) last week to also look into the actions of Lindberg.

Mika Kari (SDP), a deputy chairperson of the Parliament’s Defence Committee, on Monday estimated that the leadership change will have no impact on the long-discussed fighter jet acquisition. The Finnish Air Force is expected to announce the supplier of its new fighter jet fleet in 2021.

“Changing the Commander of the Defence Forces won’t cause any delays or other complications for the XH project, because the preparatory work has been done by a large group of people at Defence Forces and the Ministry of Defence,” he commented.

Kari declined to speculate on whether the ongoing pre-trial investigation had any bearing on the decision of Lindberg.

“I won’t speculate on the reasons behind it. Commanders do change from time to time,” he retorted.

Lindberg, similarly, refused to comment on the pre-trial investigation, reminding that it has yet been launched by KRP. “Time will tell what it means. I’ve never been the subject of a study or investigation, so this is a new experience,” he told according to Helsingin Sanomat.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi