In a historical decision, Finland has decided to give arms aid to Ukraine, which is struggling in the middle of Russian military attacks.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (the Greens), Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) and Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen (the Centre), in a press conference about Finland providing military aid to Ukraine at the Governmental Palace on February 28, 2022. Photograph: Lauri Heikkinen/The Finnish Government

By the decision of the Finnish government and the president, Finland will deliver 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 cartridges for the attack rifles, 1,500 single-shot anti-tank weapons and 70,000 combat ration packages to Ukraine as material aid against the military attack by Russia.

Finland will also send to Ukraine 2,000 bulletproof vests, 2,000 composite helmets, 100 stretchers as well as equipment for two emergency medical care stations.

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The government also granted Estonia a license to re-export to Ukraine artillery guns and their ammunition, which Estonia had previously purchased from Finland.

The decisions are based on Ukraine’s request for material assistance from the EU and NATO member states. While Finland is not a NATO member, it’s a member of the EU, and the decision is comparable with similar decisions in other Nordic countries.

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In addition, Finland decided already on February 17 and 24 to grant Ukraine a total of €14 million in new financial support. Of this, €8.2 million is humanitarian assistance and €5.8 million is development cooperation funding. In total, Finland’s support to Ukraine for 2014–2022 will be approximately €85 million.

The decision to send arms aid to a country in the middle of a war is historical.

President Sauli Niinistö said on Monday evening in a live TV interview by the Finnish Broadcast Company YLE that the decision to send arms aid doesn’t make Finland a party to the war.

“Originally, the regulations have aimed to avoid a domineering situation, where weapons are used to attack. This is another kind of situation,” Niinistö said.

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