Finnish PM says she will support actions to ‘convict Russia’ after meeting Zelensky

Finland prime minister Sanna Marin has called Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine a “turning point” for the world and added she would support “all the actions” of the International Criminal Court to convict Russia.

“We, Finland, support all the actions of the International Criminal Court to consider these crimes, collect evidence for future proceedings and convict Russia,” Ms Marin said on a visit to Ukraine on Thursday, reported Reuters.

She made the comments after meeting president Volodymyr Zelensky.

“What happened, what Russia did is a turning point for the entire European family and the whole world. We see that the old arrangement has been destroyed and there is no return to the former relationship,” she said.

Ms Marin visited Irpin and Bucha, towns on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv where Russian troops have been accused of war crimes.

During the ongoing Russian invasion, Finland also provided Ukraine with military assistance and also backed Kyiv’s proposal to join the European Union.

Mr Zelensky wrote on Facebook thanking Finland by saying its military assistance was “very valuable”.

“Weapons, sanctions policy and the unity of our partners in the issue of Ukraine’s accession to the EU – this is what can provide strength in the defence of our land,” he said.

Finland, already an EU member, shares a border with Russia spanning about 1,300km. After the Ukraine invasion began on 24 February, Finland said it sought to join the Nato defence alliance.

Its neighbour Sweden too filed its own application to join Nato in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Nordic states’ bids, however, have been objected to by Nato member Turkey, alleging that the countries support the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and US-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militant groups that threaten its security.

But at a news conference in Washington, US state secretary Antony Blinken said Turkey’s objections can be overcome swiftly.

“The United States fully supports Finland and Sweden joining the alliance and I continue to be confident that both will soon be NATO members,” Mr Blinken said.

“We look forward to being able to call Finland and Sweden our allies,” he added.

At a press conference with Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal, Ms Marin called Russia’s invasion a “turning point” for Europe.

She said in a statement following her visit to Ukraine that it was “important for the EU to be united, bold and determined in the face of Russia’s invasion”.

Ms Marin’s visit comes as the war intensifies in Ukraine’s East.

Ukraine said on Friday that its forces may retreat from their last pockets in Luhansk city in the country’s eastern region to avoid being captured by advancing Russian forces.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said it was vital that the west send more heavy weaponry to Ukraine as Russia is making “palpable progress” in the country’s east.

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