Finland: Sanna Marin calls for more sanctions against Russia: “Ukraine will win the war with our support. There is no other option” | International
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More “unity” against Russia and also more and tougher sanctions. It is the claim of the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, to the plenary session of the European Parliament this Tuesday. The social democratic leader, who pilots the accession to NATO of the European country with the longest borders with Russia, has urged the European Union to continue closing ranks in the face of the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine, which has already been 200 days old, and at blackmail by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who is using Europe’s dependence on Russian gas as a pressure lever to crack that unity and turn against sanctions that are damaging the Russian economy. “Ukraine will win the war with our support”, said Marin, received with great applause from MEPs in the Eurochamber in Strasbourg, “there is no other option, but she has already won in our hearts”.
With energy prices skyrocketing and inflation skyrocketing across the EU, many fear that the unity of the 27 in supporting kyiv in the face of Putin’s all-out war will crack. In his analysis of the future of Europe, Marin spoke of a gloomy outlook, with a growing energy crisis, democratic backsliding in some countries and a rise in authoritarianism, as well as an increase in natural disasters, but he has shown convinced that the Union can emerge stronger from the test with “unity, determination and courage”. “Russia can challenge us, blackmail us and threaten us, but we will not give up,” he said. “His actions of hers have united the West like never before, while Russia is more alone than ever,” she stressed.
Criticized in recent weeks for a series of leaked videos in which she is seen dancing and partying with a group of friends, Marin has been a very strong voice against the Kremlin and against Russian aggression in Ukraine and is leading the approach of his country to the Atlantic Alliance (adhesion ratified by more than 95% by the Finnish Parliament, representation of the citizenry). Finland’s entry — and Sweden’s, which is advancing alongside it — may redraw Europe’s security architecture, which has faltered since Putin launched all-out war against Ukraine.
Twenty-four of the 30 NATO allies have already ratified the entry of Finland and Sweden into the Atlantic Alliance, but Turkey’s green light remains, which is fueling the possibility of a veto by this country, which has already shown reluctance to enter the two Nordic countries. On the eve of the Madrid Summit, Ankara agreed to lift its veto in exchange for Helsinki and Stockholm committing to “prevent the activities” of the Kurdish armed group PKK, which, according to human rights organizations, could lead to extraditions. And not only of these people, but also of others who have never been involved in armed activity.
Marin has assured that the Finnish Government does not and will not make decisions on the extradition of citizens claimed by Turkey (a NATO member, which maintains a good relationship with Moscow and kyiv as a tightrope walker, to whom it sells drones that are being key to defending itself from the Russian invasion), but these decisions are in the hands of “institutions of justice and public servants”. At a press conference with the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, the Finnish Prime Minister insisted that she will not speculate on Ankara’s position and stressed that she hopes for a “quick ratification”.
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“Naivety” of the EU against the Kremlin
The Finnish Prime Minister has criticized the “naivete” of the Union and of many countries in the face of the Kremlin and their long dependence on a gas that the Kremlin sold cheaply and now uses as a weapon. “We should have listened earlier and better to the Baltic countries and Poland, which had experience with the Soviet Union. Now we pay a high price. We should never have entrusted our economy to others”, she insisted in Strasbourg.
Marin is part of the group of countries that advocates toughening sanctions against Russia and this Tuesday has called for not only quick and effective measures to deal with the energy crisis, but also formulas to make the war unsustainable for the Putin regime. The sanctions, the Finnish leader has said, should not only be against Putin, his circle, the security apparatus that governs Russia and its main political and economic actors, but should also be felt by citizens, she has claimed. “Sanctions must be reflected in the daily lives of ordinary Russians,” she said. “It is not correct that while Russia kills civilians in Ukraine, Russian tourists travel freely in Europe,” added Marin, who believes that the suspension by the Council of the EU of the agreement to facilitate visas for Russian citizens (and that basically translates into more bureaucracy and more expensive procedures) is not enough. Poland and the three Baltic states have already passed measures to restrict the entry (mainly overland) of most Russian visa holders, and Finland has said it will also cut the number of new visas.
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