Finland official says Russia must be held accountable for invading Ukraine

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2023 09:45 PM

MANILA — A visiting official from Finland reiterated Russia must be held accountable for violating international law and the United Nations charter over its invasion of Ukraine. 

Speaking at the Philippine Foreign Service Institute, Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary to Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs described Russia’s invasion as unjustified and unprovoked and that principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be ignored. 

“Our message to all countries is that blatant violations of international law, the UN charter and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be ignored,” Sumuvuori said. 

She also reiterated Finland’s call to China to use its influence on Russia to stop the invasion and called on international community to “resist Russia’s attempt to break international norms,” adding that global stability and security are based on principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity. 

“Another permanent member of the UN Security Council, China, has a special responsibility to contribute to peace and security and the respect of the UN Charter. We continue to urge China to use its influence on Russia. As global community, we must resist Russia’s attempt to break international norms and guiding principles. The foundations for global stability and security continue to be based on principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and having no spheres of influence and this has not changed,” she said. 

Sumuvuori added the current energy and food crisis is Russia’s making and said that Russia’s “false narrative” of blaming other countries for the crises should be countered. 

Sumuvuori expressed support for the European Union’s packages of sanctions imposed on Russia to force Russia to stop its war on Ukraine and said Finland will continue to support Ukraine. 

In its comment sent to ABS-CBN News, the Russian Embassy said Sumuvuori’s remarks were “full of clichés” that did not reveal “the true causes of the conflict and of the global crisis in the food and energy markets.” 

“Again we hear hackneyed calls to condemn Russia for violating international law and allegedly invading Ukraine. Her speech is full of clichés about unprovoked and unjustified aggression against a ‘sovereign state’, as well as undermining global food and energy stability, allegedly through the fault of Russia. At the same time, like many of her Western colleagues, the Finnish official does not reveal the origins and the true causes of the conflict and of the global crisis in the food and energy markets,” the Russian Embassy said. 

The Russian Embassy claimed that statistics from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other international agencies “convincingly show that the crisis had been developing long before the start of the special military operation.” 

“President of Russia Vladimir Putin repeatedly cited data showing the emergence of negative phenomena in the global economy, primarily due to the egoistic position of the United States and its allies,” the Russian Embassy said. 

“We would also like to remind that what is happening in Ukraine now is the result of preparations by the US and its satellites for the start of a global hybrid war against the Russian Federation to ensure its dominance by illegitimate methods.” 

“Our Western partners are cunning while vehemently trying to prove that they are not fighting Russia but are only helping Ukraine respond to an “aggression” and restore its territorial integrity. The scale of their support makes it clear that the West has staked a great deal on its war against Russia.” 

The Russian Embassy said that while territorial integrity should be respected under the UN Charter, it said that the “putschists” who came to power in Kiev in 2014 had announced “that they would drive the Russians out of Crimea.” “

Crimea and Donbass, with a predominantly Russian-speaking population (about 40%), did not support such a political setting, and therefore a real war was unleashed against them by the ‘revolutionaries’. The entire ‘progressive’ world community prefers to remain silent about this,” the Russian Embassy said, turning the tables instead on the West including the United States for “distorting” the principles of the UN Charter. 

“It did not respect the principles of sovereign equality of states, non-interference in internal affairs and peaceful settlement of disputes. The United States used its armed forces abroad hundreds of times since the establishment of the UN. In the majority of cases, it crudely violated the UN Charter,” it said. 

FINLAND ON CHINA 

Asked during the open forum if Finland will be more vocal on China’s actions in the South China Sea following the principles outlined in her talk, Sumuvuori said Finland continues to raise such issues as well as human rights with China.” 

“In general, we are following the EU… [We are] implementing and following its Indo Pacific strategy, and at the core of it is of course also maritime security and securing trade routes and peaceful and stable developments in Indo-Pacific area. Of course, for us, it’s very important and also in this regard we are respecting and doing our utmost to kind of safeguard the international rules-based order,” she said. 

“Overall when it comes to Finland’s stance and Finland’s discussions with China, we always have had really a frank way to discuss also these kinds of issues and human rights issues and we of course continue to do so.”