Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) delivered a public speech at the May Day event of the Centre in Helsinki on 1 May 2023. Kaikkonen on Wednesday assured that the caretaker government is capable of making decisions on further aid to Ukraine. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

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MINISTER OF DEFENCE Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) on Wednesday assured that Finland will continue supporting Ukraine uninterrupted even if the coalition formation negotiations drag into June.

Kaikkonen stated on YLE A-studio that the caretaker government has looked into the question with the Chancellor of Justice, concluding that decisions on additional aid packages can be made as long as the approach remains unchanged.

The caretaker government could make a decision on what would be its 16th aid package in the coming weeks, according to Kaikkonen. He declined to comment on the content of the next package in detail but described it as “stout”.

“I could say, for example, that air defence is something that has been emphasised strongly by Ukraine,” he stated to the public broadcasting company.

Kaikkonen said Ukraine’s wishes concerning weapons and weapon systems are constantly being evaluated. Finland, though, will continue to make its decisions on military aid in a way that does not undermine its own defence capabilities.

“We’re evaluating what our support could look like in what stage separately for each package,” he stated.

The caretaker government is capable of handling routine matters related to the everyday operation of the government and urgent matters that cannot be left to the next government. It cannot, however, implement the government programme and must refrain from making new or extensive policy motions with consequences for its successor.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Helsinki on Wednesday to take part in a summit with the foreign policy leaders of the Nordics, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Garh Støre, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir. While Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) did not participate in the summit, Zelenskiy had bilateral talks with each prime minister, including Marin, according to YLE.

Prior to the summit, Zelenskiy sat down with Niinistö to discuss the next aid package from Finland to Ukraine. Zelenskiy on Wednesday said in a joint press conference after the meeting that he believes this year will be decisive for the victory of Ukraine.

He also had a meeting with the leader of the coalition formation negotiations, Petteri Orpo of the National Coalition. Orpo on Wednesday said he assured Zelenskiy that Finland will continue to support Ukraine regardless of the outcome of the coalition formation process.

Zelenskiy also had a working lunch with a group including Marin and Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens).

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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