Zelensky Makes Surprise Trip to Finland

May 3, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to Finland Wednesday where he was set to meet with President Sauli Niinisto.

Zelensky arrived the same day that Finland was hosting the Nordic-Ukraine summit at the Finnish Presidential Palace in Helsinki. Niinisto and Zelensky planned to be joined by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdottir.

On April 4, Finland gave up its 100+ years of military neutrality to become the 31st member of NATO.

Finland, which shares a border with Russia, and Sweden, which has maintained military neutrality for 200+ years, jointly applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the Spring of 2022 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that February.

Sweden, however, is still waiting for unanimous approval from all NATO members. Its membership is being held up by objections from Turkey, which has dug in its heels over political disagreements regarding Sweden’s unwillingness to prosecute anti-Islam activists and pro-Kurdish groups inside Sweden.

Zelensky’s visit to Finland comes as Ukraine is seeking to greatly beef up its air defenses against a barrage of deadly Russian missile attacks on civilians, many living hundreds of miles from any active front line.

At Wednesday’s Nordic-Ukraine summit, the war, Nordic support for Ukraine and Ukraine’s relationship with the European Union and NATO will be on the agenda for talks.

PHOTO: Finland Presidential Palace

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