Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posed for a photo taken in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, 26 May 2022, by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service. (AFP Photo – Ukrainian Presidential Press Service)

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PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) has urged the West to increase its support for Ukraine and expand its sanctions against Russia.

“The war is continuing and material reserves are being depleted. That’s why we must provide support for as long as the war continues and, after that, we must help with the rebuilding,” she stated in an interview with YLE in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday.

“Finland is ready to do its part to help,” she added, stressing the importance of a united, courageous and determined EU.

Marin on Thursday made a short visit to Ukraine at the invitation of Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. She also met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk.

Ukrainians, she said, sent the message that the world must not forget about them.

“We visited mass grave sites and witnessed other types of the atrocities that have happened,” said Marin. “The comforting and hopeful message is that rebuilding is already underway in cities where horrific acts have taken place. People look to the future. They want to believe things will be better tomorrow.”

Ukraine’s EU membership application was among the topics of the visit. The Finnish government underlined in its press release that it supports the country on its path to membership. “It is important to create concrete steps for Ukraine to become an EU member state,” stated Marin.

She reminded the public broadcasting company that there are no shortcuts to the membership, though.

“I don’t see that we could make an exception in the sense that the criteria shouldn’t be met. I’m open to giving Ukraine the status of a candidate country,” told Marin. “A country receiving the status of a candidate country doesn’t mean that it becomes an EU member tomorrow. Membership naturally requires a lot of work. We’re discussing how Ukraine can rebuild and, at the same time, work toward EU membership.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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