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Wednesday's papers: More aid to Ukraine, farmers' power worries, slippery streets

Papers report an announcement by the Ministery of Defence that Finland will be providing Ukraine with a new nearly 29 million euro military aid package.

Jalankulkija kävelee varovasti jäisellä jalankulkuväylällä Helsingin Katajanokalla maanantaina 19. joulukuuta 2022.
Streets and walkways are extremely slippery throughout the country. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva
Yle News

An STT news agency report, carried by Oulu's Kaleva (siirryt toiseen palveluun), notes that a new package of military aid announced on Tuesday is the eleventh Finland has provided to Ukraine since Russia's invasion on 24 February.

The shipment is valued at 28.8 million euros, bringing the total of Finland's military aid to Ukraine to 189.2 million euros since the start of the conflict.

"Ukraine's defensive stuggle continues. The need for defense equipment is great. We will continue our support," Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) was quoted as saying in a ministry release.

The most recent previous military aid package for Ukraine, worth more than 55 million euros, was announced in November. These figures are based on the sums needed to replace equipment being sent to Ukraine.

The paper reports that in addition to materials, Finland's Defence Forces are continuing to provide training to the Ukrainian armed forces. The training, which is being carried out in the UK, will continue until the end of next year.

Finland said in August that it would offer about 20 instructors for the training programme. The Ministry of Defence confirmed to STT that the number of personnel will remain unchanged. It had been previously announced that Finnish participation would end this year.

Help needed in agricultural sector

Looking at the government's planned measures aimed at helping people meet the rising cost of energy bills, the farmers' union paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus (siirryt toiseen palveluun) points out that there will be no compensation given to companies, but they are being promised flexibility in paying their power bills.

In a morning editorial, the paper says that from the point of view of the agriculture sector, it is essential whether farms are equated with households, industry or with neither.

MT writes that the government has acted as if the electricity crisis came as a surprise. The escalation of the problem has been visible for more than half a year. However, the seeds of the crisis were sown years ago and now the harvest of the decisions of previous years is being reaped.

Domestic energy production, MT argues, has not been properly managed. The change has been too rapid, with old power plants being closed and not enough replacement of basic production.

According to the paper, electricity subsidies for agriculture were being prepared by the cabinet, but the matter has not progressed.

The government must be able to decide on electricity price subsidies for agriculture and also for the foodstuffs industry quickly, writes MT. "This is a matter of security of food supply for everyone. If you don't want to protect [the agricultural sector], the government may also be surprised by a food crisis."

Hufvudstadsbladet, meanwhile, reports that a survey (siirryt toiseen palveluun) published by the Consumers’ Union of Finland shows that around 80 percent of people want a price ceiling for electricity. About 60 percent said that they are experiencing financial difficulties, while 16 percent stated that they have no extra problems due to higher energy costs.

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Sixteen tons and what do you get?

If you're talking about illegal tobacco products, the answer is not only "older and deeper in debt", but also "prison time".

Snus is a type of oral tobacco product that is legal in neighbouring Sweden, but banned in the rest of the EU.

Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reports on the trial of six men who smuggled 16,000 kilos of snus from Sweden into Finland between 2016 and 2018.

Five of them have now been to sentenced prison terms for smuggling and aggravated tax fraud. They were also ordered to pay approximately three million euros, with interest, to the state for the aggravated tax fraud.

A sixth man, who acted as a look out at the border for the gang, was also convicted on tax fraud charges.

Still hope for a (mostly) white Christmas

Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) tells readers that updated warnings from the Finnish Meteorological Institute now caution motorists of hazardous driving conditions across the country, while pedestrians are being warned of the dangers slippery streets, all because of freezing rain, snow or sleet.

Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) writes that according to FMI Meteorologist Eerik Saarikka, mild weather will continue for some time, but Christmas still looks like it will be very wintry, and new snow may also be seen in southern parts of the country.

There is, however, a small risk that southwestern Finland will not be white this Christmas.

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