The Ukrainian flags are hoisted in front of the Government Building in Helsinki on February 24, 2023, to commemorate the victims of the war on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Photograph: TONY ÖHBERG/FINLAND TODAY

Today, on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, church bells toll, landmarks are lit in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, the Parliament is holding a moment of silence, the Ukrainian flags flap in the wind in front of the Government Palace, and President Sauli Niinistö released an official statement regarding the anniversary of the war.

We publish President Niinistö’s statement in full:

“One year ago Russia started its cruel, illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. It thought it would win. It thought Ukraine would break and our support would waver. It was wrong. One year on, Ukraine continues to courageously fight for its freedom and independence.

The price that the Ukrainians are paying is horrible. We remember the thousands who have lost their lives. Our thoughts are with the millions, who have been forced to leave their homes.

Finland will support Ukraine as long as is needed. We will do our utmost to make those who have fled the war feel welcome and safe in our country. And we will help Ukrainians rebuild their beautiful homeland.”

Read also:  GALLERY: Finnish Heads of State Place Candles in a Memorial for Ukraine War Victims; A Sea of Candles Illuminate the Steps of Helsinki Cathedral

In the evening, a candlelight memorial will be held at the Senate Square to honor the lives lost in the war. Heads of state including President Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) will place candles on the steps of the Helsinki Cathedral.

The public is invited to join the commemoration. 2,000 candles will be available for people to place on the steps at no cost. 

The event is scheduled to begin at 16:00.

President Sauli Niinistö published an official statement on February 24, 2023.