HELSINKI, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Finnish Defence Forces launched on Wednesday a weeklong exercise over a large area in Southeastern Finland and the Gulf of Finland involving 12,000 soldiers.
Unlike several major exercises in recent years, the maneuver does not involve any troops from NATO countries or Sweden, but Finnish forces only.
Lieutenant General Petri Hulkko, the commander of the exercise, said in a release, quoted widely by local media, that "the Finnish defence doctrine cannot be based on foreign aid."
Hulkko underlined the militarily non-aligned status of Finland, and also referred to the lessons of history Finland has experienced.
The exercise coincides with the 80th anniversary of the beginning of hostilities between Finland and the Soviet Union in the World War II, in late November 1939.
Hulkko noted that the Finnish defence doctrine "probably has its roots" in the Finnish experience of having to fight alone in 1939-1940.
Hulkko said that this does "not mean that Finland would not try to get international assistance" in a future conflict, as it also tried in 1939.
The anniversary of the 1939 beginning of hostilities will be observed in ceremonies during the exercise. In Helsinki, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto will lay a wreath at a recently erected a memorial of the 1939-40 war.
In May, an international military exercise was held in northern Finland, with some 800 soldiers and 200 vehicles taking part in, including soldiers or tanks from countries including the United States and Norway.