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‘Ukraine is fighting for the European values on the frontline’: Finnish PM in Kyiv

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin visited Kyiv on Friday for a one-day visit to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. At a joint news conference, Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to Finland for its military assistance during its 12-month resistance against the Russian invading forces.

“I am grateful to Finland for giving military assistance packages, for active participation in a ‘tank coalition’,” Zelenskyy said. “I am sure we will further strengthen this area of cooperation for the benefit of our interests, of Ukraine’s and Finland’s sovereignty and independence, and of our European neighbors.”

Kyiv has secured pledges from several Western nations to supply modern battlefield tanks to help fend off Russian forces. In February, Finland said it would send Ukraine three Leopard 2 tanks suitable for mine clearing and provide training for their use.

Not just arms

“We are living in dark times, but there is also a light of hope, and the hope is that we are united, we have stepped up our support when it comes to sanctions, when it comes to arms support to Ukraine, economic support to Ukraine, humanitarian support to Ukraine,” said Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. “So we are united, we are standing behind our values, and Ukraine is fighting for the European values on the frontline.”

Prime Minister Marin also expressed support for the idea that Russia must pay the full price for the aggression and all the losses suffered by Ukraine as a result of the invasion. The leader of the Nordic country supports the freezing and seizing of Russian assets that can later be used for the post-war restoration of Ukraine.

She said that Finland understands Ukraine well and, based on its own history, knows better than anyone that Ukraine needs to be supported as long as is necessary, wishing for Ukraine to receive peace on its own terms.

Marin also said that her country supports the efforts of the International Criminal Court and the Ukrainian authorities to create the International Center for the Prosecution of Crimes of Aggression in The Hague.

Finland’s PM also announced a new aid package for Ukraine amounting to EUR 29 million and dedicated to education.

Marin and Zelenskiy also attended a memorial ceremony at St Michael’s Cathedral for Ukrainian commander Dmytro Kotsiubailo, callsign “Da Vinci”, killed in fighting in the eastern city of Bakhmut.

Nord Stream

In separate remarks regarding the explosions on the Nord Stream pipeline in September, Zelenskyy reiterated Kyiv’s stance that Ukraine had no involvement.

“As for the Nord Stream, we have nothing to do with it. [It was done] to slow down the provision of assistance to Ukraine,” said Ukraine’s president.

The New York Times reported earlier this week that new intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials suggests that a pro-Ukraine group, likely comprised of Ukrainians or sympathetic Russians, attacked the Nord Stream gas pipelines, but there were no firm conclusions there.

The U.S. officials also told the NYT that there was no evidence that Zelenskyy or other Ukrainian government officials had been aware of the planned attacks.

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