Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the Crimea Platform in Kyiv on 23 August 2021

Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin with a quote: “Reaffirming their objective of promoting better relations among themselves and ensuring conditions in which their people can live in true and lasting peace free from any threat to or attempt against their security.”

This is the opening sentence of the Helsinki Final Act, signed in the Finnish capital in 1975. At the heart of that document are ten “principles guiding relations between states”, which begin with a familiar list: sovereignty, refraining from the threat or use of force, inviolability of frontiers, and territorial integrity. These principles are an essential foundation of the European security order, and we must be unwavering in defending them.

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Mr President,

The establishment of the International Crimea Platform shows the determination of Ukraine, and you personally, to address the importance of these principles. And all of us gathered here today know that for Ukraine this is not just a question of principle, but a hard reality. I want to thank you, President Kaljulaid, for sharing your experiences about that.

Finland’s support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders is firm. Finland supports international efforts to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Allow me to thank you, Mr President, for this important initiative, in which Finland naturally participates.

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In addition to defending its letter, we should also revive the spirit of Helsinki. The willingness of adversaries to engage in dialogue despite their differences, could serve the future of our planet as a whole.

In order to tackle our common challenges, we need to shoulder our human responsibilities for the generations to come. In order to “ensure conditions in which our people can live in true and lasting peace”, we need to rebuild trust. In short, the world needs the Helsinki spirit.