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Speech by Prime Minister Sanna Marin on the current foreign and security policy situation in Parliament's topical debate on 22 February 2022

Government Communications Department
Publication date 22.2.2022 14.45
Prime Minister Sanna Marin

Prime Minister Sanna Marin gave a speech on the current foreign and security policy situation in Parliament's topical debate on 22 February 2022. Speech to be checked against delivery.

Mr Speaker,

The decision of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin to recognise the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine is a serious violation international law and the fundamental principles of European security.  Finland condemns Russia’s unilateral acts that violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Russia is a party to the conflict. It cannot avoid its responsibilities by pretending otherwise. Russia is now openly in breach of the Minsk Agreements, the implementation of which has the support of the UN Security Council.

Mr Speaker,

Russia has increased tensions along the Ukraine border for several months now. The decision to recognise the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions is a serious act.

President Putin also signed an agreement on cooperation with the regions. The State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation has today approved these agreements.  It now seems clear that Russia intends to send so-called peacekeeping forces into the regions.

Unfortunately, in this situation it seems possible that Russia does not intend to stop here, and the situation could deteriorate rapidly. The Government is actively monitoring the situation and will keep Parliament informed.

Mr Speaker,

By sending Russian troops into these regions, Russia is expanding the illegal occupation of Ukraine that began in 2014. The international community has widely condemned Russia’s actions. So too do Finland and the European Union.

We call on Russia to withdraw its recognition of these regions, to cease military action and pull its troops out of Ukraine, and to return to talks within the framework of the Normandy Format and the OSCE.

The President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy have discussed the situation today. Finland’s foreign and security policy is unified and stable. President Niinistö spoke about the situation on this basis earlier today.

Mr Speaker,

Finland will respond to Russia’s actions as part of the European Union. Finland has consistently emphasised that the EU must be ready to respond in a united, strong and determined manner if the situation so requires.

The European Union is currently preparing measures to respond to Russia. These measures are being coordinated with close partners and particularly with the United States. Yesterday, I discussed the situation and the preparation of sanctions with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The EU Foreign Ministers will meet later today to discuss the counter-measures we are prepared to take against Russia.

Last December, the European Council stated that in a world of growing instability, the EU will take more responsibility for its own security and defence. The EU will promote its interests and values, and reinforce its resilience and preparedness to tackle security threats and challenges effectively. At the same time, the European Council stressed the urgent need for Russia to de-escalate tensions caused by the military build-up along its border with Ukraine and by aggressive rhetoric.

Last week, the European Council reiterated its full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We will continue working with the EU and our other partners to respond to this situation and find a solution.

At the same time, we will expand support to Ukraine. We are firmly committed to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Mr Speaker,

It is clear that Russia is seeking to build a sphere of influence in its neighbouring areas.  As a member of the UN Security Council, Russia has a particular responsibility for international peace and security, which it is now acting directly against. This is not just a question of European security.
Tomorrow, Parliament will receive the Prime Minister’s announcement on the foreign and security policy situation. This will provide an opportunity for a broad discussion of the topic.