Finland will host a NATO land command and troops

Defence ministers of the NATO-Ukraine Council meet in Brussels

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland will host a new land command unit of the NATO military alliance, Minister of Defence Antti Hakkanen told reporters on Friday following a meeting of the alliance in Brussels.

After decades of military non-alignment, Finland joined NATO last year in response to neighbouring Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"I'm pleased to state that today all NATO member states have given their political consent to Finland's key goals in its NATO integration," Hakkanen said.

"Finland will host a NATO command and there will be land force presence in Finland," he added.

Hakkanen said the Finnish NATO command will have as a task to direct land warfare operations in northern Europe and in Scandinavia.

He declined to reveal the exact location of the command or how many NATO troops would be placed in Finland, saying detailed planning was still ongoing.

In NATO's new command structure all Nordic countries would fall under the U.S. based Joint Force Command Norfolk, which is oriented to the North Atlantic defence, instead of new members Finland and Sweden remaining under NATO's east-oriented Brunssum command in the Netherlands, Hakkanen said.

"With these decisions, the security of Finland and at the same time the security of Northern Europe is strengthened, and they significantly benefit the security of the entire alliance," he said.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen in Helsinki, editing by Terje Solsvik)