The speech of the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Finland Jussi Halla-aho in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 25 November 2023

Press Service of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
25 November 2023, 17:13

Dear Mr Speaker, Members of the Parliament of Ukraine! On 30 November 1939, my country, Finland, fell victim to russian imperialist ambitions.

The events of 24 February last year – the unprovoked invasion and bombing of Ukrainian cities – have awakened painful memories of our own historical experience with our eastern neighbour. It was a great disappointment to see that, despite all the naïve optimism, the mentality and character of the russian state has not changed since the Cold War. It has no respect for international law or its obligations, then or now. It does not value life – neither its own nor that of others. It believes that it has the right to veto the choice of its neighbours, the right to veto even their existence.

russia respects and understands force. russian imperialism must be met with force. At the beginning, in the first days of the war, few in the West believed that Ukraine was capable of resisting the russian offensive. By their heroic struggle Ukrainians not only earned the respect of the entire civilised world, but also gave us the courage to act.

Decisions on assistance are being made too slowly, but they are being made. As of today, Finland has sent 20 packages of military aid to Ukraine – and we will continue to support you for as long as necessary.

Dear deputies, the victims of the same imperialist ambitions were also those millions who lost their lives during the Holodomor of 1932-1933. Our Parliament, unlike many others, has never issued a declaration on historical events. We don't even have a procedure for doing so. But last week, the heads of all nine parliamentary factions, together with the vast majority of MPs, signed a joint statement stating that there are grounds to consider the Holodomor a genocide of the Ukrainian people committed by the soviet authorities, and it should be called that – that is, genocide. I handed this document to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Mr Stefanchuk, yesterday.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to stand here in front of you today.

May time heal the wounds, may life prevail.

Glory to Ukraine!