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Finland Deepens Military Ties With U.S. After Alleged Airspace Violations By Russia

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist (left) and his Finish counterpart, Jussi Niinisto (file photo)

Finland and the United States have signed a defense cooperation pact on increased military collaboration amid alleged violations of Finnish airspace by Russian fighter jets.

The new agreement was signed in Helsinki on October 7 by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto.

Finland, which is not a member of NATO, already cooperates with Washington through military drills on air, land, and sea.

The newly signed agreement seeks to deepen bilateral military ties through the exchange of information and joint research and development in areas like cyberdefense and training.

The signing of the deal came a day after Finland scrambled jets in response to suspected violations of its airspace by Russian SU-27 fighter jets over the Baltic Sea.

Russia denies its planes strayed from international airspace.

Finland's Nordic neighbor Sweden -- which also is not a member of NATO -- concluded a similar pact with the United States in June.

Finland and Sweden also signed a defense cooperation agreement with Britain earlier in 2016.

Based on reporting by AP and The Washington Post