President of the Republic and Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy discussed situation in Ukraine

Government Communications Department
Press Release 314/2014

On Wednesday 13 August 2014, the President of the Republic and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy discussed the current situation in Ukraine.

Finland stresses the importance of a negotiated solution to the crisis. To achieve it, it is imperative for Russia to stop assisting the separatist groups. This is also what the European Union has urged Russia to do.

Since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, Finland has stated that, with its actions in Ukraine, Russia has violated key principles of international law and numerous international commitments, including the Helsinki Final Act. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity have been violated. Russia’s actions cannot be accepted.

Russia has not halted its support to the separatists. In these circumstances, the European Union and its Member States had no other option than to appeal to Russia and resort to restrictive measures targeted at Russia in order to encourage it to change its course of action.

The EU has taken a gradual approach in introducing restrictive measures. They have been targeted at individuals or entities who actively promote the annexation of Crimea to Russian Federation and the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine. The decisions including sector specific measures have been based on an assessment of how to have the greatest possible impact on Russian policies.

The restrictive measures and especially the counter-measures taken by Russia will have negative effects also on the Union and its Member States. If the impact on an individual country, including Finland, is disproportionate, it is possible to discuss the situation at the EU level.

To achieve stability, the internal development of Ukraine is also important. Ukraine’s economy and system of governance are in need of significant reforms. Elections will strengthen the legitimacy of the political system. The international community, especially the Council of Europe and the OSCE, must continue to assist Ukraine to fulfil its international obligations as regards, i.a. the promotion of human rights, including the rights of the Russian speaking minority.

Finland is concerned about the escalation of tension between Ukraine and Russia and between Russia and the West. The spiral of negative developments should be stopped. All efforts to find a basis for a negotiated solution to the Ukrainian crisis are important.

As a member of the European Union, Finland seeks to influence the situation primarily through the EU. The unity of the European Union is very important for Finland. Finland’s bilateral relations with its neighbouring Russia are multifaceted and extensive. Even in the present situation, circumstances permitting, maintaining a constructive dialogue between the EU and Russia and also bilaterally remain essential.

Inquiries: Terhi Hakala, Director-General, tel. +358 295 351 300, Ministry for Foreign Affairs