On Thursday 26 May, Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin visited Kyiv at the invitation of Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. During her visit, she also met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and with the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk.

During the visit, Prime Minister Marin emphasised that Finland and the international community at large condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which is a blatant violation of the UN Charter, international law and the jointly agreed fundamental principles of European security. She stressed the need to increase support for Ukraine while continuing to ramp up sanctions against Russia.

“It is important for the European Union to be united, bold and determined in the face of Russia’s invasion,” Marin said.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted the importance of visits of foreign high-ranking officials to our country.

“These are very important direct signals of support, first of all for the Ukrainian people, our people, who see that they are not left alone with today’s ordeals,” he said.

The Ukrainian Head of State thanked the government and people of Finland for their support. In particular, for five packages of defence aid, sanctions against the Russian Federation, as well as for financial and humanitarian aid.

EU sanctions

The sixth EU sanctions package will be on the agenda at the special European Council next week. As Marin announced at the international donors’ conference in Warsaw on 5 May, Finland is preparing additional support for Ukraine. Finland is also prepared to increase its arms deliveries to Ukraine. The President also highlighted the need to continue supporting Ukraine through arms deliveries and thanked Finland for its assistance so far.

The Head of State stressed the need to impose the next, sixth package of sanctions against Russia by the EU as soon as possible. The key elements of the development of the democratic community’s sanctions policy against the aggressor were discussed separately.

President Zelensky appealed in favour of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

EU membership

Marin’s discussions with Prime Minister Shmyhal also addressed Ukraine’s application for membership in the EU. Ukraine is part of the European family and Finland supports Ukraine on its path to EU membership.

“It is important to create concrete steps for Ukraine to become an EU Member State,” Marin said during her visit.

The Heads of Government also agreed on close coordination of cooperation within the EU, in particular on assistance from Finland in implementing reforms in Ukraine on the way to membership in the European Union.

Sanna Marin stressed that Ukraine is already a member of the European family. According to her, Finland, together with the European Union, will support Ukraine at every stage of EU accession.

The reconstruction of Ukraine

The prime ministers also signed a framework agreement on cooperation in the education sector.

Denys Shmyhal and Sanna Marin agreed to involve Finland in the future reconstruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure using advanced technologies and European parameters and to participate in the reconstruction of Ukrainian cities and towns.

“We expect to commence on concrete projects in the near future in order to be ready to start shortly work said the Prime Minister of Ukraine.

Denys Shmyhal and Sanna Marin agreed to involve Finland in the future reconstruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure using advanced technologies and European parameters and to participate in the reconstruction of Ukrainian cities and towns [Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of Ukraine]

The President of Ukraine also informed the Prime Minister of Finland about the started comprehensive work on planning the reconstruction of Ukraine after the end of war. Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the people of Ukraine count on the active participation of Finland in this process and invited them to take a Ukrainian region, city or industry under their patronage for post-war reconstruction.

Educational reform

Ukraine and Finland have continued the implementation of the project “Finnish support for the reform of the Ukrainian school” until 2023. The agreement was inked during the meeting.

The project provides financial support for educational reform from Finland worth EUR 6 million and up to EUR 2 million from the European Union.

“Since the beginning of Russia’s aggression in 2014, Finland has helped us on all international platforms, provided significant support in promoting reforms in Ukraine, in particular in the field of education. We highly appreciate and will never forget the solidarity of the Finnish people, their moral support and numerous donations to international humanitarian organizations to help Ukraine, “said Denys Shmyhal.

Irpin, and to the city of Bucha

Marin’s programme included visits to Irpin and to the city of Bucha, where the Prime Minister of Finland learned more about the devastation caused by Russia’s invasion and heard local people’s accounts of the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers. During her visit, Prime Minister Marin emphasised that there would be no room for impunity. Finland firmly supports Ukraine and the International Criminal Court in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted the importance of Sanna Marin’s visit to Irpin and Bucha.

“It was extremely difficult to look at everything that Russia has done to these cities. Many people died. At the same time, the heroic spirit of the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for their freedom and for the whole of Europe, is admirable,” said the Prime Minister of Finland.

Sanna Marin stressed that her country and people today understand Ukrainians very well, given their historical experience.