Skip to content

Ukrainian President Zelensky warns Russia could "do the same" to Finland

"Just like you 83 years ago, Ukraine has the bravery to defend itself against such an enemy," Zelensky told Finnish MPs.

Ukrainan presidentti Volodymyr Zelenskyi puhuu Suomen eduskunnalle
Ukrainan presidentti Volodymyr Zelenskyi puhuu Suomen eduskunnalle
Yle News

Ukraine's President Volodomyr Zelensky told Finnish MPs that Finland could suffer the same fate as Ukraine, which is defending itself from Russian attack.

"You do understand that if the Russian army gets the order to invade your country, they will do the same with your country as well. Something I don't want you to witness. They will do what they did to the city of Bucha to the cities of your country—to the cities of any country," Zelensky warned.

The Ukrainian president thanked Finland for supporting Ukraine during the conflict, and urged Finns to do more to support his country even after the conflict ends.

He also invoked famous Finnish military successes, with a reference to the Winter War of 1939-40 in which Finland prevented a Russian occupation of the country.

"Just like you 83 years ago, Ukraine has the bravery to defend itself against such an enemy and such a power that is numerically superior," Zelensky said, alluding to Finland's 1939-1940 Winter War with the Soviet Union.

The speech was delivered by video link and lasted around 15 minutes. Zelensky spoke in Ukrainian, with simultaneous interpretation into English offered to MPs.

Zelensky has previously addressed several parliaments around the world, including Sweden's on 24 March. On that occasion the Ukrainian president said Russia was a threat to the whole world, and thanked the country for help it had offered Ukraine.

Zelensky's speech to legislators was requested by Finland, according to Parliament Speaker, Matti Vanhanen.

"We informed Ukraine two or three weeks ago that we're prepared to offer an opportunity for the president to speak here," Vanhanen explained, adding that interest in such a request came from many parliamentary parties.

Vanhanen said that MPs wanted to receive information about the war in Ukraine, directly from the president of Ukraine.

"It is vital that we get direct and immediate information. At the same time, of course, we are showing that we're following what is happening in Ukraine — and Russia's actions there — very closely," Vanhanen said.

"Historic" moment

Prior to the speech Vanhanen said that Zelensky's address would be historic.

"Yes, it can be described as historic. Parliament's chamber is very rarely used for such an occasion. It's quite rare for foreign officials to speak here," Vanhanen said.

He added that he did not think Zelensky will be a generic copy of similar speeches he has made to other lawmakers around the world.

"In his earlier speeches, there's been some country-specific topics, one way or another. Those speeches weren't copies," Vanhanen said, adding that he is curious about what Zelensky's message to Finland and the country's MPs will be.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia