Ukraine and Finland has maintained warm and friendly relations since 1918 after Finnish independence. In recent years, one of the main bilateral priorities has been to increase trade and business ties between Finland and Ukraine. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, Finland has increased their support and adapted to respond to the urgent needs and help to strengthen the Ukrainian society and its people during the war.
During her first visit to the University of Vaasa, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Finland, Mrs. Olga Dibrova expressed a wish to see more cooperation between Ukrainian and Finnish universities since education has been one of the backbones of collaboration between the two countries. The proposal of a forum for university rectors and professors has been made by the Ambassador and the University of Vaasa in turn, conveyed their willingness to take action for it to happen.
For lunch, the Ambassador met with Mr. Mats Brand, Regional Mayor, and other delegates from Association Kalyna ry. Kalyna provides assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainians in Finland. Kalyna also organized a concert to raise funds for Ukraine the next day, in which the Ambassador took part.
Mr. Tomas Häyry, Mayor and Mr. Joakim Strand, Member of Parliament and Chair of the City Council welcomed the Ambassador and introduced her to the region and the energy cluster in Vaasa. The Ambassador highlighted the urgent need for Ukraine to start reconstructing the energy infrastructure. In fact, 50% of it has already been damaged or destroyed during the war. Moreover, possibilities within the energy sector and potential future cooperation to rebuild Ukraine with the help of companies from the Vaasa region was discussed. For this reason, the Mayor invited the Ambassador to attend Energy Week. The Ambassador promised to work for finding a new sister city for Vaasa from Ukraine.
The Ambassador’s last visit went to the Red Cross Vaasa Swedish branch, where Mr. Ulf Lassander, Chair and Mrs. Solveig Nylund, Vice-chair showed the Ambassador around. Luckily, the organization has 25-40 volunteers that sorts donated clothes, furniture and kitchen accessories and give them out to around 40-70 Ukrainians and others in need every week. Along with the representatives of the Red Cross, the Ambassador met two Ukrainian volunteers that now live in Vaasa that expressed their appreciation and gratitude to Vaasa and to the Red Cross for all the help they have received.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to Finland has actively been visiting different sites in Finland. The Ambassador was really pleased with her visit to Vaasa because she saw that thanks to various organizations, companies and inhabitants, Ukrainians living in our region are satisfied, as they are well treated and supported. Her visit was beneficial and fruitful, as Vaasa can be an extremely important partner for Enhancing the green transition and Rebuilding of the energy infrastructure of Ukraine.