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Wednesday's papers: Halla-aho's "strong words", cyber attack on Nordea, Finlandia for Ukraine

Newspapers report that the chair of Parliament's Foreign Affairs committee said Western intervention in the war in Ukraine would soon be inevitable.

ussi Halla-aho puhuu medialle perussuomalaisten eduskuntaryhmän kokouksen jälkeen Helsingissä 10. helmikuuta 2022
The former leader of the Finns Party, Jussi Halla-aho, became chair of Parliament's Foreign Affairs committee two weeks ago. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva
Yle News

Helsingin Sanomat writes that Jussi Halla-aho (Finns) — former leader of the Finns Party and now chair of Parliament's Foreign Affairs committee — told the newspaper on Tuesday that Western intervention in the war in Ukraine would soon be inevitable, so it would be better to do it sooner rather than later.

"The west will not tolerate the situation getting worse," Halla-aho said, adding that public and moral pressure on Russia will not be enough as casualties in Ukraine mount.

Tweeting in English on Tuesday morning, Halla-aho called on Nato, the UN and the European Commission to take action.

"Please, stop the Russian horde before we have a new Grozny and Aleppo in the middle of Europe! You have the means. You have the legal and moral right," he wrote.

His comments caused quite a stir, especially given his new position within the foreign affairs committee, with HS writing that Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) commented that these were "strong words" to come from the chair of the committee.

Conceding that some may consider his views to be radical, Halla-aho told HS that he is only trying to analyse the situation.

"It has been the case that many of my previous views have been considered radical at first. I said a few weeks ago that negotiations with Russia are pointless in this situation, and that Ukraine could be given armed assistance," he said.

Nordea hit by denial-of-service attack

Financial newspaper Taloussanomat reports on a suspected cyber attack on the Nordea banking group, which led to customers experiencing delays while logging into the bank's online and mobile banking services.

The disruption may have started as early as Sunday evening, with Taloussanomat writing that the bank is still investigating the source of the denial-of-service attack. However, no customer data or assets are believed to have been compromised.

The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority (Fiva) described the outage as being "exceptionally long".

"This is of course a really unfortunate situation for the bank’s customers. The service outage has been extremely long," Fiva manager Markku Koponen told Helsingin Sanomat.

The Taloussanomat article adds that if customers are hit with late payment fees due to the cyber attack, they can file a complaint via the online or mobile banking services.

"Possible compensation can be considered on a case-by-case basis by our customer service department if the customer has suffered a financial loss," the bank said.

Bus driver delivers supplies, collects asylum seekers

Tampere-based Aamulehti reports on a bus driver who is delivering supplies to the Ukraine-Poland border, and plans to bring up to 60 Ukrainian asylum seekers back to Tampere with him.

AL writes that the situation in Ukraine has motivated many private citizens and businesses within the Pirkanmaa region to take action, with clothes and other items being donated to people fleeing the conflict.

Bus driver Alex Ahonen told the paper he was inspired to make the trip after receiving "frightening videos of the bombings" from acquaintances in Ukraine. He informed the asylum seeker reception centre in the district of Kauppi about his plans to make the trip, and his intention to return with about 60 Ukrainians aboard his bus on Thursday.

Another bus and a lorry full of supplies are expected to make the same journey in the coming days.

Jari Kähkönen, Director General of the Finnish Immigration Service Migri, told AL that he is happy to see the sympathy that Finns are showing for the Ukrainian people, and impressed by their desire to help.

"It is excellent that Finns are helping Ukrainians. This compassion that has been seen is a really great thing," Kähkönen said.

Finlandia for Ukraine

Many papers also report on the stirring rendition of the iconic Finnish hymn Finlandia — with the title word changed to Ukraina (the Finnish word for Ukraine) — that was performed outside the Russian embassy in Helsinki on Tuesday evening.

The recital was led by the renowned Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat (YL Male Voice Choir), with Helsingin Sanomat writing that the choir wanted to show sympathy and support for Ukraine and to condemn Russia's war of aggression.

"Our song echoes for the struggles of Ukraine - for its brave people and for the common security of the whole of Europe," YL President and CEO Jarno Oikkonen said in a press release.

Finlandia is a tone poem written by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in 1899 as a covert protest against increasing censorship by the Russian Empire.

The HS article also includes a video of the performance.

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