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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the MPs via video link in the Plenary Hall on Friday, April 8.
Speaker of Parliament Matti Vanhanen gave a short welcoming address in which he reminded of the immense devastation and humanitarian suffering caused by Russia's invasion in Ukraine. Vanhanen said that the President Zelenskyy's leadership and Ukrainians' bravery, resilience and will to defend the nation deserve our utmost respect and support.
President Zelenskyy started his speech by talking about a recent Russian strike on railway station in Kramatorsk where dozens of Ukrainians waiting for evacuation died and hundreds were injured. On Zelenskyy's request, Parliament held a short moment of silence in the memory of the victims of Russian invasion.
In his speech, President Zelenskyy described the brutality of Russian forces on civilian population and reminded Finland of her experience with Russian aggression. You do not want to witness it again, Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy appealed to the MPs for strong sanctions on Russia. Ukraine also needs more armament to counter Russian military capabilities.
Zelenskyy thanked Finland for her swift assistance to Ukraine and moral leadership against the war.
Speaker Vanhanen thanked Zelenskyy for his powerful speech and said that Ukraine is not only fighting for their country, but for us all. Thus, Finland has, in addition to humanitarian and financial aid, for the first time in our history submitted military assistance to a country at war.
“Because Ukraine's cause is ours and because your cause is just. As our Prime Minister recently stated, the question is not about if Ukraine wins, but when Ukraine wins."
Vanhanen assured that Ukraine can count on Finland's unwavering support.
“We support your tireless efforts to agree on a ceasefire and provide humanitarian relief and corridors. We support your demands to Russia to stop the fight and withdraw from Ukraine. And we will be there with you to rebuild even stronger Ukraine. We will stand with you."
President Sauli Niinistö and Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Ambassador of Ukraine Olga Dibrova and the President of the National Council of Switzerland Irène Kälin followed the video speech by President Zelenskyy in Parliament together with many ambassadors accredited to Finland.
This was not a plenary session of Parliament, but a separate event in the Plenary Hall.
Video recording of the event is available on Parliament's webcast service.