Kouvola is the biggest garrison town in Finland. The three largest international border crossing points on the eastern border of Finland are located in the area of the Southeast Finland Border Guard District. Finnish Border Guard reinforces the security of Finland and repels security threats facing Finland and Europe on the outer borders.

Region on the border of Southeast Finland

The 1,300-kilometre eastern border of Finland is a very significant factor in Finland’s geographical position. From a security point of view, the proximity of the eastern border also involves threats. Finland has responded to these threats by joining NATO on 4 April 2023. At the same time, the border of Finland also became the eastern border of the defence alliance.

Part of the border is located in Kymenlaakso and in the whole of Southeastern Finland, so our regions are in a special position in relation to the east. Kymenlaakso and Russia also share a sea border, which is even more significant than the land border in terms of the functioning of society.

The three largest international border crossing points on the eastern border are located in the area of the Southeast Finland Border Guard District: Nuijamaa, Vaalimaa and Imatra.

Kouvola – logistics centre
Kouvola, the centre of Southeastern Finland, is logistically in the middle of it all: in the core of a regionally important logistics area, at the crossroads of main roads and railways. The region of Kymenlaakso is the number 1 region in Finland in transport and top-ranking logistics.

Kouvola is served by good connections to and from the Helsinki region, border crossing points and the seaport of HaminaKotka Harbour. The best logistics centre in Northern Europe with Finland’s largest railway logistics centre and a freight transport shunting yard have been developed in Kouvola.

The map shows the location of Kouvola in southern Finland and the main routes to the largest cities in southern Finland.

Garrison town Kouvola

Kouvola hosts Karelia Brigade and Utti Jaeger Regiment. The garrison offers work for many, is reflected in the streetscape and also brings special expertise to the region.

Karelia Brigade

The Brigade includes six battalions or regiments:
• Kymi Jaeger Battalion
• Karelia Artillery Regiment
• Salpausselkä Air Defence Battalion
• Kymi Engineer Battalion
• East Finland Signal Battalion
• Karelia Logistics Battalion

Karelia Brigade, KARPR, is a large Army unit, which represents all combat arms of the Army. The main task of the Brigade is to train wartime troops for the Finnish Defence Forces. Karelia Brigade is located in Vekaranjärvi in Kouvola.

The organisation also includes the Brigade Headquarters, and the South Savo and Southeast Finland Regional Offices under the direct command of the Brigade Deputy Commander.

Karelia Brigade maintains operational preparedness, is responsible for the military defence of Southeastern Finland and trains conscripts. Vekaranjärvi hosts all six combat arms of the Finnish Army. The Brigade has the capability to carry responsibility for preparedness in its area. The training and exercise system of the Brigade meets the requirements of national courses in preparedness, military unit tasks and demining. Karelia Brigade is a significant regional influencer in co-operation with other authorities, conscription matters and national defence efforts.

The main peacetime task of Karelia Brigade is to train wartime troops for the defence of Finland. Some 4,000 conscripts serve in the Brigade each year, and the salaried personnel include about 600 people. The Brigade has approximately 3,000 hectares of exercise areas and the Pahkajärvi artillery training area with excellent training conditions. This enables effective, versatile and above all interesting training both for conscripts and the personnel.

• About 4,000 conscripts.
• 2,000 conscripts taken in twice a year.
• Personnel almost 600.
• More than 200 military exercises per year.

Utti Jaeger Regiment

Utti Jaeger Regiment is at the cutting edge of Finnish national defence. The Regiment incorporates the special forces and helicopter operations of the Defence Forces as well as the sectors that support these two.

The Regiment has exercises throughout Finland and is prepared to operate throughout Finland. The most visible part of the operations are NH90 transport helicopters and MD500 light utility helicopters. The Regiment has co-operation with all forces of the Army and with units of the Navy and Air Force. The Regiment also conducts close co-operation with other security authorities, such as the police and Border Guard as well as with international allies and partners.

In addition to the Headquarters, the composition of the Regiment includes:
• Special Jaeger Battalion
• Helicopter Battalion
• Support Battalion.

The focus in the operations of Utti Jaeger Regiment is on the professional performance of the hired personnel, which is also reflected in the personnel structure of the Regiment. The Regiment comprises a total of approximately 460 hired soldiers and civilians.

The Regiment trains about 320 conscripts annually in two units, in the Paratrooper Company belonging to the Special Jaeger Battalion and in the Support Company belonging to the Logistics Centre. Conscripts for the Paratrooper Company are selected through a separate application procedure and selection test. Most of the conscripts in the Support Company come through call-ups, and some special tasks are filled through separate application procedures.

The Regiment has a high level of readiness to provide executive assistance to other authorities, and it participates in the tasks of international military crisis management when necessary.


• The training of the special forces of the Defence Forces is concentrated in Utti Jaeger Regiment.
• All 20 NH90 transport helicopters and seven MD500 helicopters of the Defence Forces are stationed in Utti.
• The organisation of the Regiment enables fast response to changes in the operating environment, disturbances in normal conditions and comprehensive threats.
• Utti Jaeger Regiment can be used flexibly in the statutory tasks of the Defence Forces in Finland and abroad.

NH90 helicopter in a fast rope exercise.

Due to our geographical location, we are an important link in Finnish security, where logistics play an increasingly important role. And the aspect of security of supply and contingency planning is equally as important. Security of supply also consists of functional logistics. The location of Kouvola, Finland’s largest military transport airfield and Finland’s biggest dry port render Kouvola a significant player in the logistics sector, also in extraordinary circumstances.

Organisations operating in Southeastern Finland include:

• Southeast Finland Regional Office of the Defence Forces, Karelia Brigade and Utti Jaeger Regiment are located in Kouvola.• Southeast Finland Police Department, headquartered in Kouvola.
• Kymenlaakso Rescue Service with constant readiness at five fire stations; Kouvola, Kuusankoski, Kotkansaari, Karhula, Hamina, and the rescue service of South Karelia.
• Southeastern Finland Border Guard. The Border Guard is part of the defence system of Finland. The Border Guard operates on land, sea and air.
• Imatra Border and Coast Guard School.
• Finnish Customs has offices in Nuijamaa, Vaalimaa, Vainikkala, Imatra, Parikkala and Kotka.
• Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland covers the regions of South Karelia, Kanta-Häme, Kymenlaakso, Päijät-Häme and Uusimaa. The main office is in Hämeenlinna and the other offices are in Helsinki and Kouvola.
• The public social and health services in the regions are provided by the Kymenlaakso Wellbeing Services County and the South Karelia Wellbeing Services County.

Updated 24.4.2024