Foreign Minister Soini reiterated Finland's strong support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine at his meeting with Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Kyiv on 5 March. The ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine, bilateral relations between Finland and Ukraine and reforms in Ukraine.
“A permanent ceasefire is needed in eastern Ukraine so that there can be progress towards implementing the Minsk Agreement. The only way to peace is through a political dialogue. Finland supports solutions to the conflict that respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Timo Soini said.
Minister Soini emphasised that Finland condemns the illegal annexation of Crimea into Russia. Sunday 18 March will mark the fourth anniversary of the day on which the Crimean Peninsula was incorporated into Russia after an illegal referendum.
“Finland does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea into Russia. There are worrying reports that the human rights situation in Crimea is worsening. I urge Russia to investigate all human rights violations, bring the perpetrators to justice and give international organisations unhindered access to the area. A military build-up in Crimea will also make the already difficult security situation even worse,” Soini noted.
Foreign Minister Soini emphasised the importance of the reform process in Ukraine. The reforms have a direct impact on the daily life of citizens. In particular, progress in anti-corruption efforts is also vital to healthy and sustainable development in society at large. Foreign Minister Soini and Ukraine's Minister of Education and Science signed an agreement between the two countries under which Finland will provide Ukraine with additional assistance for reforms of its education sector. Under the four-year programme set out in the agreement, Finland will support Ukraine in the development of teacher education and the updating of teaching material. Finland will also significantly expand its assistance to Ukraine so that it can improve the energy-efficiency of its economy:
“In its support for Ukraine, Finland will focus on sectors in which we possess a high level of expertise. Education is one of the fundamentals of society and we are ready to play a central role in the reforming of the Ukrainian education sector. In the energy sector, we will focus on improvements in energy-efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy and on developing clean energy production. These are all essential to ensuring a sustainable energy supply,” Soini noted.
Foreign Minister Soini is visiting Kyiv on 5 and 6 March 2018. During his visit, he will also hold meetings with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee as well as representatives of Ukraine’s anti-corruption authority and civil society organisations. Soini will also meet with Finnish experts working in international organisations in Ukraine.
Inquiries: Riikka Taivassalo, Special Adviser to Foreign Minister Soini, tel. +358 46 923 4581, and Päivi Nevala, Counsellor, Unit for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, tel. +358 295 350 085.
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are of the format firstname.lastname@example.org
Published originally in Finnish on 5 March 2018