Thomas Blomqvist: We’re standing with Ukraine

Today (24 February 2023) marks the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine. One year ago, Europe’s security environment was fundamentally shaken and we woke up to a new set of circumstances. For twelve months, Ukrainians have waged a brave battle for their country, their democracy and their freedom. Thomas Blomqvist, Finland’s Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, emphasises the importance of a continued show of support for Ukraine.

“Giving strong support to Ukraine is extremely important and must continue,” says minister Blomqvist. “We must stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes, as many other EU leaders have also stated. Finland has supported Ukraine nationally, as well as via the EU and diverse international forums. Transatlantic cooperation has been important. We have unambiguously denounced Russia’s actions, placed extensive sanctions and provided political, humanitarian, economic and military aid to Ukraine. We must keep this up.”

The European Union and its member states have already supported Ukraine with over EUR 50 billion in aid.Yesterday, Finland decided to send additional defence materials to Ukraine – our thirteenth consignment – at the same time as the EU has agreed on its tenth package of sanctions against Russia.

“These are only two examples of the concrete aid that Finland and the EU are providing to Ukraine,” Blomqvist says.“Our efforts are in no way comparable to the enormous sacrifices that the Ukrainian people must make, or to their courage, but external assistance is indispensable for them to continue defending their land and their freedom, as well as our shared values. Russia may have invaded Ukraine, but in doing so it also attacked Europe’s security environment and our principles and values. The Ukrainians are at the frontline, fighting for our shared standards of democracy, human rights and freedom. Ukraine’s business is our business,” Blomqvist says.

Russia’s attack will have far-reaching, long-lasting consequences, which may be unpredictable. Naturally, the conflict has primarily affected Ukraine and its people, but its repercussions have reached global politics and everyone’s daily lives.

“In the last year, the Finnish government has been reacting to the gravity of the situation,” Blomqvist says. We took the historic decision to apply for NATO membership. No other defence alliance can offer similar security guarantees.Finland has always invested in its defence and preparedness, and in the last twelve months we have taken diverse steps to further increase our society’s readiness and resilience.

“The past year has been a time of change and uncertainty, but also insight. We have had a new reminder of the importance of preparedness and self-sufficiency, and, particularly, domestic food production. Now, if not before, we realise the urgency of the green transition. We have seen how much we can achieve by working decisively and in unison with our allies. Above all, we are reminded not to take anything for granted. We must work daily to promote the values and the kind of world in which we want to live,” Blomqvist concludes.

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