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Tampere's Ukraine House temporarily closes due to probe into use of funds

The facility opened in May with the aim of assisting Ukrainian people as well as providing a place where Finns and Ukrainians could meet and learn more about each other's cultures.

The cultural centre opened its doors in May. Image: Ronan Browne / Yle News

Finland's first-ever 'Ukraine House' — a cultural centre located in the city of Tampere — has temporarily closed its doors due to ongoing uncertainties about its use of funds.

An association called 'Ukrainians of Tampere' announced via its Facebook page (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on Wednesday that it has taken official steps to examine "various irregularities in the use of funds by certain activities" operating under the association's name.

The post further noted that the association’s bank account has been frozen in accordance with the bank's instructions, pending the outcome of the investigation.

The association added that it has received three major financial donations, some of which were used to support the activities of Ukraine House.

As the Ukrainians of Tampere association announced the launch of the investigation aimed at clarifying the financial irregularities, the people behind Ukraine House have announced their resignation from the association and the creation of their own, separate group.

On the Ukraine House's own Facebook page, a post on Wednesday noted (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that the Ukrainians of Tampere association should have transferred funds to Ukraine House in the middle of July. However, this has not been done and the facility has been left without funds.

"We have exhausted all possible resources and unfortunately we will not be able to provide services until the association releases the funds," the post added.

A sign on the door of Ukraine House announces the closure of the centre in three different languages. Image: Kai Pohjanen / Yle

The board of the Ukrainians of Tampere association said on its Facebook page that it aims to address all possible grievances thoroughly so that the association's relief work can continue.

"The association’s highest and top-most priority is to make sure donated funds and other donations are being used according to our donors' wishes, in line with Finnish law, and as efficiently as possible," the Facebook post concluded.

Yle has repeatedly reached out to representatives of both associations, but no response from either body has so far been received.

Finland's first Ukraine House opened in May in Tampere city centre, as a place where Finns and Ukrainians could meet and learn more about each other's cultures, the association said at the time.