Military begins training with sarin and mustard gas

The exercise takes place in a specially constructed area complete with safe storage and decontamination facilities.

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File picture of Pori Brigade soldiers training, September 2019 / Credit: Pasi Lindroos, Finnish Defence Forces

The Finnish military has started a training exercise using chemical weapons this week.

On Monday, Pori Brigade began the exercise with sarin and mustard gas, the first training of its kind in Finland.

The exercises are taking place in Säkylä near Eura, and continue all week. Previously this kind of training was done in Sweden but the military says it is significantly cheaper to conduct the training in Finland instead.

Both sarin and mustard gas are banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention but the agreement allows their limited use for military training purposes.

The Brigade says the training doesn’t pose a risk to soldiers as they’re taking full precautions and putting medical staff on standby. They’re also emphasizing that there is no danger to the environment since the location of training is not near any groundwater areas, and no harmful substances are spread directly into the terrain.

The actual substance handling training with sarin and mustard gas takes place in a specially-constructed closed area with decontamination and storage facilities.