President Niinistö in Ukraine: It has been impressive to see the courage and determination of the Ukrainians

President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö visited Ukraine and met President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, 24 January 2023. During the visit, President Niinistö stressed that Finland’s support for Ukraine is strong and will continue as long as necessary.

During their meeting, President Niinistö and President Zelenskyy discussed the current situation of Russia’s war of aggression, Finland’s political and material support to Ukraine and Ukraine’s efforts to bring about a just peace.

In a joint press conference, President Niinistö pointed out that Finland was the first to condemn the invasion of Crimea in the spring of 2014 and has been supporting Ukraine ever since. “Our latest military aid package was the biggest to date and raises our aid to 600 million euros. We also want to support civil society by providing, for example, generators and humanitarian aid.”

In addition to discussing the tightening of sanctions against Russia, President Niinistö said, we also need to counter Russia’s false narratives. “It is very important for all of us Europeans to understand what is really happening and who is doing what.”

Before the meeting with President Zelenskyy and a joint working lunch with him, President Niinistö visited Borodianka and Bucha, where local authorities and soldiers defending the area presented him with the ravages of the war and told him about the suffering caused to civilians by the Russian invasion.

“We witnessed the atrocities committed by the invaders and the suffering of the Ukrainians. However, we also met a father and a son, a veterinarian and a student, now both brave soldiers. It was very impressive to see in father and son how the Ukrainian people have united, to see their bravery and determination to defend their country,” President Niinistö said at the press conference.

In a meeting with the Finnish media, President Niinistö said that the situation is not calming down: “To sum it up, there is nothing more longed for than peace here. Unfortunately, there is not much evidence of that at the moment. The situation is rather escalating in the opposite direction, as the war accelerates. And the answer, which is being considered in Europe as a whole, is how we can support Ukraine in this situation.”

In Kyiv, the programme also included the laying of a wreath at the Wall of Remembrance for those fallen in the war.

At the end of the visit, President Niinistö met students of the National University of Kyiv for a joint discussion. The title of the event was “Together for security, together for a just peace.”