On 24 February 2022, Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. At the Nordic Council theme session, representatives from the Nordic Council, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Baltic Assembly, and the Ukrainian ambassador to Denmark discussed solutions to the situation. There is widespread dismay and condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on all sides, as well as huge support for Ukraine:
“The Nordic Council strongly condemns Russia’s brutal, illegal, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” said Erkki Tuomioja, President of the Nordic Council, before opening the discussion on Nordic solutions to bring peace to Ukraine.
Nordic welfare states must help Ukrainian refugees
During the debate, figures from the Red Cross emerged, showing that six million children are now trapped in Ukraine in the midst of bombing and burning buildings. The Nordic countries will continue to supply Ukraine with humanitarian aid, the politicians promised. At the same time, up to 10 million Ukrainians are fleeing, some displaced within Ukraine, and the rest in Europe. These are mostly women and children. The men have stayed put to fight. The Norwegian Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, emphasised that the Nordic welfare states are equipped to help vulnerable people and are willing to so right now.
“Together, we in the Nordic Region are ready to help the many people in Ukraine who’ve been forced to flee from Russia’s brutal acts of war,” said Tvinnereim.
Ukraine wants military assistance
The Ukrainian ambassador to Denmark is grateful for the help Ukraine is receiving from the Nordic countries, but he calls for more military assistance.
“I’ll be honest with you. The help we’re getting is not enough. The size of the enemy we’re facing means that we need more. First and foremost, we need weapons,” said Mykhailo Vydoinyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Denmark.
Tough sanctions against the Russian government
There was some self-examination during the debate as well. The Baltic Assembly regretted the lack of harsher reactions from the global community in respect of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. This was a point also raised by Nordic Council member Hans Wallmark from the Swedish Moderates. He emphasised that the global community must react with harsh sanctions and, for example, re-evaluate the stance on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
The President of the Nordic Council wrapped up the debate by thanking the Ukrainian ambassador and promising that the Nordic Region will continue to support Ukraine, and that in the long run it’s also willing to provide assistance for the reconstruction of the country.