With war close by, Finnish women learn to defend

STORY: CORRECTION: AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS EDIT STATED THIS COURSE WAS A COURSE FOR MILITARY RESERVISTS WITH TRAINING ON MOVING IN THE BATTLEFIELD.

These women in Finland are learning defence skills.

From setting up camp and lighting fires - to navigating in the forest and performing first aid.

Sissi Moberg signed up for the course after Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24th.

SISSI MOBERG, ENTREPRENEUR:

"My family has been quite astounded for sure. I probably am one of the last people my close ones would have seen participating in a course like this."

She is one of 300 Finnish women who have signed up for the course.

Another 500 are on the waiting list.

Finland’s Women’s National Emergency Preparedness Association said demand for their courses have increasingly gained popularity since February.

SUVI AKSELA, WOMEN'S NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS ASSOCIATION:

"So right after the war started, our phones started ringing and there were e-mails flying and, in the beginning, people asked specific questions like where is my nearest bomb shelter or what should I bring with me there and how could I prepare and then it shifted to how can I participate in national defence and we have strived to answer those questions and of course the demand for training went up."

The war in Ukraine has caused alarm in Finland, which shares a 810 mile border with Russia.

Helsinki broke decades of policy last month,

when it applied for membership in the NATO military alliance.

SATU MIETTINEN, FURNITURE SHOP AREA MANAGER:

"Sometimes I feel like the people in Europe don't quite understand that Russia really is right there, our neighbour on the other side of the border. For example, I have a summer cottage 9 miles from the border but we're feeling good about it. Finland is very prepared and like this has shown, women have now become more active and the will to defend our country is very strong in Finland, which is good."

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