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Ukrainan Suomen-suurlähettiläs Olga Dibrova: Suomi on roolimalli Ukrainan tukemisessa

Lue lyhennelmä suurlähettiläs Dibrovan inspiroivasta puheenvuorosta EastChamin jäsenyrityksille.

Ukrainan Suomen-suurlähettiläs Olga Dibrovan mukaan Ukrainan ja Suomen välisen kumppanuuden painopisteet ovat turvallisuus ja puolustus, koulutus, vihreä siirtyminen ja energia sekä digitaalinen muutos ja resilienssi. Hän kertoi Ukrainan tarpeista ja kutsui yritykset mukaan jälleenrakennustyöhön.

Suurlähettiläs Dibrova vieraili EastCham vuoden ensimmäisessä jäsenklubissa. Hybridinä järjestettyä tilaisuutta seurasi lähes 70 jäsenyritysten ja sidosryhmien edustajaa.

Julkaisemme Ukrainan-suurlähetystön luvalla lyhennelmän suurlähettilään puheesta.

”Dear Friends,

For almost two years the Ukrainian people fight for their freedom and existence as a free nation, for democratic values, for its right to be a full member of the European Community and NATO.

We are grateful that from the very beginning of Russia’s full-scale aggression Finland has firmly supported Ukraine.

Now I am proud to say that Finland proved to be a true friend and reliable partner of Ukraine.

”Finland proved to be a true friend and reliable partner of Ukraine.”

Finland created one of the best models of protection for Ukrainians, who fled the war, and provided all critically needed political and practical assistance to Ukraine, demonstrating outstanding solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

With constant supply of defense, humanitarian and financial assistance to Ukraine, the Finnish nation has shown its exceptional human dignity and true commitment to defend international rules-based order, democracy and basic principles of international co-existence.

We highly appreciate Prime-minister’s P.Orpo Government Program, which specifies all tracks of assistance and support to Ukraine, including provision of defense equipment and other support in economic, financial and humanitarian spheres, strengthening sanctions, holding Russia accountable, directing frozen Russian assets to the reconstruction of Ukraine, as well as the development of a long-term National plan for Finland’s participation in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

I am really proud of being Ambassador to Finland, which is a true role-model for other countries showing an example of commitment to shaping our common peaceful and prosperous future.

”Finland is a true role-model for other countries.”

The “wake-up call to the West” on the need to strengthen support of Ukraine in the New Year’s address of President Niinisto clearly proves this role of Finland.

Dear friends, 

Just recently, on the New year’s eve, Ukraine has been massively attacked by aggressive Russia. On December 29th and January 2nd more than 500 missiles and drones attacked Ukrainian cities and towns – the biggest attack from the beginning of the aggression.

Without air-defense systems and ammunition provided by Ukraine’s partners, thousands civilian lives would have been lost.

This attack has once again demonstrated cruel intentions of Russia to destroy Ukraine.

It’s apparent for everyone that the destiny of a just and lasting peace will be decided on the battlefield.

For Ukraine it means both fully restoring its territorial integrity as well as bringing those responsible for aggression and crimes to justice.

Meeting these objectives would ensure not only peace in Ukraine, but also that other authoritarian regimes around the world are not allowed to violate international order like Russia.

Strengthening of sanctions

That’s why the issue of strengthening of sanctions against Russia is getting more important.

Unfortunately, the western-made components and electronics, which is still found in the Russian weapons, allow Russia to attack Ukraine and kill our people.

Analysis of the Challenges of Export Controls Enforcement, prepared by the International Working Group on Russian Sanctions (January 11, 2024), shows how Russia continues to import components for its military production.

Taking this opportunity, I call on all companies – members of EastCham to be extremely cautious while exporting to third countries.

”Taking this opportunity, I call on all companies – members of EastCham to be extremely cautious while exporting to third countries.”

Finnish Governmental officials already know about this problem.

So, violating sanctions can quickly compromise company’s business as well as spoil the activities of its business association.

Without exaggeration, I want to stress that this is the matter of our common security because Russian missiles with western-made components can ultimately reach any country.

Defense assistance is top priority

In order to better protect the population and critical infrastructure from the Russian missile terror we need more weapons.

The more weapons provided, the more lives saved.

The higher the pressure on Russia and its leadership, the closer the end of the war.

The first half of 2024 will determine the long-term trajectory of the war.

Uncertainty about the long-term provision of aid to Ukraine risks not only giving Russia advantages on the battlefield, but also encouraging Moscow to keep on fighting.

Hesitation has already undermined the goal to push Russia to the negotiating table because Moscow thinks that it can overcome the West’s deterrence.

I appreciate 21 packages of defense assistance provided from Finland to Ukraine.

We are deeply grateful for the readiness of Finland to provide Ukraine with defense assistance and training as long as it is necessary to win this war and secure peace in Europe.

I commend the recent decision of the Government of Finland to significantly increase the heavy ammunition production capacity in Finland, which will make it possible to support Ukraine in the long term into the 2030. 

Dear friends,

Now I would like to outline Ukraine-Finland enhanced partnership priorities, which make the compass of our bilateral cooperation:

  • Security and defense, including: implementation of the Peace Formula of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (10 points); accelerated Ukraine’s accession to NATO; developing close ties between defense sectors; participation of Finland’s defense industries in the strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capabilities;
  • Education: introduction of the best educational practices and technologies at all levels of the educational process – preschool, basic education, vocational education and university education; Finland’s private sector participation in Ukraine’s education infrastructure post-war recovery, including building of flagship schools in all regions of Ukraine and developing applied-science universities;
  • Green transition & energy: wide-range application of the Finnish investments and technologies in the creation of carbon-neutral and green economy in Ukraine, including waste management and circular economy solutions, energy efficiency, sustainable forest management and innovations; Finland’s participation in the creation of a new energy sector of Ukraine, including green energy production, utilization of Artificial Intelligence and digitalization in the fields of circular economy, etc.;
  • Digital transformation and resilience: the involvement of 5G and later 6G technologies for the development of Ukraine as well as the promotion of the joint leadership of Ukraine and Finland in the EU in the field of digital transformation and digital sustainability based on the significant IT potential of Ukraine and the technological power of Finland.
  • These sectors are among the key foreign policy priorities of the Finish Government and at the same time they are the main pillars of Ukraine’s plans of recovery and long-term modernization – this is an advantageous combination.

Economic outlook of Ukraine

Unfortunately, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to cause devastating effects on Ukraine’s society and infrastructure.

During the first year of the war Ukraine’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 29%, while unemployment jumped to 25%. Inflation rate was 20% in 2022.

However, even though the war continues for the second year, Ukraine’s economy is showing remarkable resilience and is recovering faster than expected. In 2023 Ukraine’s economy returned back to growth, despite continued disruptions in critical infrastructure and supply chains. GDP growth is 4,8% in 2023.

Such good performance underscores the adaptability and resilience of the Ukrainian consumers and businesses amid the challenging war environment.

This positive growth was supported by improved domestic demand, encouraged by the inflow of international assistance and an increase in government spending, as well as by the exports, especially the agricultural sector, as a result of good harvests, continuation of the grain deal until July 2023 and the EU solidarity lanes initiative.

Inflation is decreasing due to stabilization of energy supply, lowered food and fuel prices. It was 10,6% on average for 2023 with further decrease in 2024.

Unemployment remains high. However, it is decreasing and in 2023 it was 18%.

Reconstruction of Ukraine – scale of damage and needs

Taking this opportunity, I would like to invite you to come to Ukraine to participate in the reconstruction of my country, especially taking into consideration the endorsement of the Plan of Finland’s participation in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Since the start of the full-scale war against Ukraine, Russia brought immense destruction to Ukraine’s land and infrastructure, not to mention lost lives, displaced persons and war crimes.

Ukraine’s needs for reconstruction and recovery were estimated at 383 billion euros at the beginning of 2023 (RDNA2). These estimates are to be revised upwards as the war continues. For instance, the damage from the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam that took place on 6 June 2023 is significant and it is estimated by the Government of Ukraine and the United Nations to amount to 14 billion dollars.

The highest estimated needs for reconstruction are in transport (22%), housing (17%), energy (11%), social protection and livelihoods (10%), demining (9%), and agriculture (7%) sectors.

Direct damages to buildings and infrastructure come to more than US 135 billion.

Huge damage has been made to road infrastructure – 25,000 kilometers of roads and 344 bridges were destroyed as well as to industry facilities (426 large and medium-sized enterprises were damaged or completely destroyed).

So, rebuilding Ukraine is a multibillion program lasting at least a decade – like a Marshal Plan that was launched after the Second World War in Europe.

The basic principle of Ukraine’s reconstruction is building back better and greener.

”The basic principle of Ukraine’s reconstruction is building back better and greener.”

This implies transition towards lower energy intensity and more resilient, inclusive, and modern infrastructure in the future (including mass construction of shelters for civilians and commercial sites). Under the reconstruction project Ukraine will move toward a modern, low-carbon and climate-resilient country that is aligned with the European Union policies and standards.

Even though the war in Ukraine continues, the financial world is actively creating the possibilities and financial instruments for rebuilding Ukraine.

In June last year at the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 in London the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen presented the proposal of a major Financial Instrument for Ukraine’s recovery – Ukraine Facility.

The total support under the Facility would amount to EUR 50 billion including guarantees and financial instruments to mobilize public and private investments for reconstruction of Ukraine.

We hope, Ukraine Facility will be adopted soon.

Apart from this, War Insurance Pilot Scheme was launched by the EBRD to mobilise funds for war insurance and provide guarantees for investment projects in Ukraine. The aim is to support private business and facilitate access to war insurance for the Ukrainian and international companies.

So, we believe that this instrument together with war-risk insurance instruments created on the national level by partner countries, including Finland, should encourage cooperation with Ukraine and participation in reconstruction projects.

The next Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024 will be held in Berlin on June 11-12. The Conference will focus on Ukraine’s recovery through its path to the EU membership. I strongly encourage EastCham leadership and its members to take part in the Conference.

European Commission highly appraised the reforms carried out by Ukraine. So, as a prospective member of the European Union, who has launched membership negotiations, Ukraine invites EU countries and their companies to take part in the reconstruction efforts.

The major coordinating role in the reconstruction is played by the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine and the State Agency for Reconstruction and Infrastructure Development.

One of the key objective of reconstruction now is to maintain macroeconomic stability and support economic recovery of Ukraine. We cannot make it by ourselves alone because major part of the recourses goes for the support of defense. So, reconstruction is a huge opportunity to make new investments and present leading technologies from our partners.

The five key recovery and reconstruction priorities are:

  1. Critical and social infrastructure. This includes renewal of municipal utilities, transport infrastructure and schools, health care facilities, and other social and administrative infrastructure.
  2. Energy infrastructure, including restoration and repair of transmission and distribution lines and generation capacity, development of renewables and protecting the power grid.
  3. Housing, including quick repairs as well as new capital reconstruction of residential buildings with the use of modern and energy efficient technologies.
  4. Humanitarian demining.
  5. Private sector development focusing on support and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), microenterprises, the agriculture sector and export

All these issues and opportunities as well as relevant financial support will be discussed during the future Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024 in Berlin.

I am happy that Finland is actively preparing its participation in Ukraine’s recovery and long-term modernization. I invite all interested parties to contribute to this process.

We expect that Minister Ville Tavio will take active part in the Conference at the head of Finnish delegation!

We hope that by that time Finish business will specify concrete projects and investment opportunities in Ukraine, as the time for deliberations has gone.

It is now time for action as competition is increasing and everybody wants to find its niche in Ukraine’s big market of reconstruction.

We expect that Finnish Government and business associations will assist in allocation parts of huge pool of international funds for the Finnish projects in this context.

We expect Finland’s active participation!

Creation of digital platform for all projects to promote transparency and accountability

The natural question is how to organize and streamline all reconstruction projects!

For this purpose, a digital platform was created in Ukraine to manage all reconstruction projects at all levels – from municipal to national.

Such a system is called DREAM – Digital Reconstruction Ecosystem for Accountable Management.

It is operated by the State Agency for Reconstruction and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine under the Ministry of infrastructure of Ukraine.

Everybody can look through the projects from this system and chose the interesting ones for participation.

International financial institutions plan to use the DREAM platform to ensure transparency and accountability in Ukraine’s reconstruction. Such agreement was reached on the sidelines of last year World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Morocco, Marrakesh.

The agreement also approves the use of ProZorro – digital public procurement platform of Ukraine that ensures open access to all public procurement tenders in Ukraine.

We encourage you to actively monitor these platforms.

Current assistance needs

Today it is the 700th day of the war. Ukraine fights back Russia’s aggression and still needs assistance.

”Today it is the 700th day of the war.”

I would like to use this opportunity to thank Finnish people and all of you for standing strongly by Ukraine.

Please, find every possibility to collect and send practical humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Laptops for kids, who study in bomb shelters, energy equipment and drones for our warriors on the battlefield, rescue equipment, armored ambulances and medical supplies to save lives on the battlefield and in the cities, which are under daily missile and drone attacks.

Your help is critical as we need to survive, especially this winter, fight along the thousands of kilometers of frontline and accumulate all necessary resources for decisive offensive. Our main priority is to save lives.

Our urgent needs are the following:

  • Vehicles and instruments for rescue operations,
  • All-terrain ambulances,
  • All-terrain trucks (used, but in operation),
  • All-terrain vehicles,
  • Fuel Tank Trucks,
  • Mobile power sources (generators) for soldiers as well as for rescue operations,
  • Earth-moving equipment for building fortifications along the frontline and to protect cities,
  • Demining equipment,
  • Medicines and medical supplies, medical tactical kits,
  • Basic necessities like winter warm clothes, food kits for civilians as well as for soldiers,
  • Laptops for distant education for children.

Thank you for attention.”

Olga Dibrova
Ambassador of Ukraine in Finland

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