At their meeting in Helsinki on 3 May 2023, the Presidents of Finland and Ukraine and the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden issued the following statement.
The leaders of Ukraine and the five Nordic countries reiterated their unequivocal condemnation of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. Ukraine has shown remarkable determination in exercising its inherent right to self-defence against this unprovoked and unjustified attack. Russia must immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
The Nordic countries remain unwavering in their commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The Nordic countries will continue their political, financial, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine for as long as it takes – individually, together as the Nordics, as well as through international cooperation in the European Union, in NATO, in the United Nations and in other formats.
The Nordic countries have made solid and robust military contributions to Ukraine, donating a variety of weapons systems, including high-value air defence systems, Leopard main battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, and artillery systems and munitions. The combined value of national Nordic military assistance packages issued to Ukraine so far since February 2022 is approximately 4.4 billion euros. This military support continues, as new packages are being prepared, constantly taking into account the most urgent and immediate needs of Ukraine to strengthen its defence capabilities. The US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group (the so-called Ramstein Group) is an important coordination forum for these international efforts.
In addition to their national contributions, Nordic countries are actively involved in the measures of the European Union: in the military assistance to Ukraine channelled through the European Peace Facility and in the training of Ukrainian soldiers provided by the EU Military Assistance Mission.
Beyond the military assistance, all Nordic countries have provided Ukraine with civilian assistance, including financial, humanitarian and emergency support. The combined value of these national Nordic measures since February 2022 already exceeds 1.5 billion euros and will continue to grow.
The Nordic countries support Ukraine’s initiative for a just and sustainable peace based on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Peace Formula put forward by Ukraine includes a variety of important objectives, many of which the Nordic countries are already working on, such as ensuring nuclear safety and countering the serious environmental impacts of the war. The Nordic countries stand ready to cooperate with Ukraine to ensure as wide an international participation as possible in the implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula and in a Global Peace Summit.
Ukraine and the Nordic countries underline their firm commitment to bringing to justice those responsible for war crimes and other atrocity crimes committed in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The Nordic countries welcome on-going international efforts, in co-operation with Ukraine, to ensure accountability through the establishment of an appropriate mechanism (a special tribunal) for prosecuting the crime of aggression. Broad international support is key in this regard. Therefore, while participating in the Core Group on achieving accountability for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, the Nordic countries encourage other countries to join and to build international support for the creation of a tribunal. The Nordic countries welcome the agreement on the new International Centre for Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine (ICPA) in The Hague, and look forward to its launch as soon as possible.
Ukraine and the Nordic countries reiterate their support for the investigations of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which are a step towards accountability, and have taken note of the court’s arrest warrants.
Ukraine and the Nordic countries agree on the need to increase our collective pressure on Russia through further sanctions to weaken Russia’s ability to continue its illegal war of aggression. Efforts to ensure the effective implementation of sanctions and to prevent and counter circumvention in and by third countries must be strengthened.
Ukraine and the Nordic countries will continue to work together with others to develop mechanisms to provide compensation for losses, injuries and damages caused by the Russian aggression. To this end, the international register of damage, to be presented at the Reykjavik Summit of the Council of Europe on 16-17 May 2023, is an important milestone. Our efforts will continue to explore appropriate options for the financing of a compensation mechanism, including a sound legal basis for the use of frozen and immobilized Russian assets, to support Ukraine’s reconstruction and for the purposes of reparation.
The Nordic countries, together with international organizations and partners, are committed to participate in the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine after the war. Already now, it is important to lay the ground for an ambitious and long-term engagement that will create opportunities and enable the Ukrainian people to rebuild their country. Engaging all relevant partners, including private companies and international and Nordic financial institutions, with the aim of securing the financial support, investments and knowledge needed, is essential to ensure a prosperous future for Ukraine.
The future of Ukraine and its people lies within the Euro-Atlantic family. The European Union has already recognized the European perspective of Ukraine and granted Ukraine the status of candidate country. The Nordic EU members will strongly support Ukraine in its reform efforts and in meeting the requirements needed to start accession negotiations as soon as possible, looking forward to the Commission’s report before the end of 2023. Simultaneously, in the short term, the Nordic countries continue to work for maintaining a sustained high level of immediate civilian assistance to Ukraine, including through the various EU mechanisms.
In the NATO framework, all Nordic countries continue to focus on the immediate support to Ukraine, contributing to a substantive upscale of NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package to Ukraine. Ukraine has the right to choose its own security arrangements. At the Bucharest Summit in 2008, allies agreed that Ukraine will become a NATO member. NATO’s Open Door policy is firmly grounded in the Washington treaty. Ukraine formally requested an accelerated procedure for NATO membership in September 2022. The Nordic NATO members will continue to support Ukraine on its path towards future membership. Already before membership, the security of Ukraine is of great importance to the Alliance. Ukraine and the Nordic NATO countries look forward to addressing these issues at the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July 2023. The Nordic countries continue their strong support to bolster Ukraine’s capacity to defend itself.