prime minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said on Sunday that Finland could provide financial assistance to Ukraine if attacked.
Speaking at a press conference sent about his official residence via Yle Radio Finland, the Prime Minister said that it was clear that Ukraine’s right to self-determination must be respected.
However, he said the situation "is more complex in terms of arms exports".
In late January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Germany prevented Estonia from supplying artillery to Ukraine, which Germany sold to Finland in the 1990s and later transferred to Estonia.
Marin said Russia has a responsibility to alleviate the tense situation.
"The main responsibility lies with Russia, which has exacerbated the situation with its own use of force and operations. Russia has the greatest responsibility for resolving the situation peacefully." Marin said.
"There is no place in Europe for any kind of influence-based thinking, this must be said very directly." the prime minister told reporters at a roundtable.
"There is currently no military threat to Finland, it is good to say this out loud," Marin said.
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However, if Russia expands its military operations in Ukraine and the EU imposes sanctions, this would affect Finland.
Finland is likely to face counter-sanctions
Preparatory work for possible sanctions against Russia is being led by the European Commission and is being coordinated with the United States and others, he said.
"If sanctions are needed, they will be well coordinated," Marin said.
Marin said it would be financial and broader personal sanctions, but he could not disclose details of them.
"We are now better prepared for the situation to escalate than in 2014, when Russia took Crimea from Ukraine." Marin commented.
Marin said that possible sanctions against Russia would also have a significant impact on the Finnish economy.
Marin said it is clear that Russia would respond to sanctions with counter-sanctions. However, he refused to comment on which Finnish companies could be particularly affected by the situation.
Marin stressed that the responsibility for avoiding sanctions lies with Russia, which can still resolve the situation peacefully.
Marin said that Finland’s trade relations with Russia and the impact of possible counter-sanctions have been discussed with the EU, which has led to an understanding of Finland’s special position as Russia’s neighbor.
NATO application “unlikely” before 2023
When asked about possible measures by Finns towards joining NATO, Marin replied that there is currently no discussion about applying for membership.
According to Marin, it is not excluded that Finland could apply during this election period, but it is "unlikely".
The coalition term of the Marin Center Left will end in the spring of 2023. The opposition party, which led the polls and won the recent municipal and regional elections, has traditionally been more pro-NATO.
"There should be parliamentary support and broad popular support. We are not currently discussing applying for NATO membership. The application is unlikely, but possible. [The decision] cannot seem outside Finland," Marin said.
According to Marini, one way to ensure broad support would be a referendum.
One risk of a referendum is that it would be subject to hybrid influence. Marin said he was confident that Finnish voters would notice such attempts and make their decisions independently.
Last month, Marin raised his eyebrows when Reuters quoted him as saying it was "really unlikely" that Finland would apply for NATO membership at least during its current term.
According to the Finnish Constitution, the President’s task is to oversee foreign policy in co-operation with Parliament – except in EU relations, which are primarily the responsibility of the government.
Source: The Nordic Page