Neutral countries support Ukraine against Russian war

Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Vatican side with Kyiv.

Neutral countries support Ukraine against Russian war

Neutral countries, including Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, and Vatican, stood by Ukraine's territorial integrity by condemning the Russian war on Ukraine.

A meeting between Ukrainian and Russian delegations began Monday on the Belarus border as Russia’s war on Ukraine has entered its fifth day, after Russia recognized two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine.

The war was met by an outcry from the international community, with the EU, UK, and US implementing a range of economic sanctions against Russia.

Russia has been further isolated as its airlines have been banned from traveling in European airspace as well as Canadian airspace and a number of its banks have been kicked out of the SWIFT international banking system.

Finland

Finland, one of the countries that have close cooperation with NATO but prefer to be a non-member, "strongly" condemned the war.

The Finnish government on Sunday decided to send to Ukraine 2,000 bulletproof vests, 2,000 composite helmets, 100 stretchers along with equipment for two emergency medical care stations.

Finland decided already on Feb. 17 and 24 to grant Ukraine a total of €14 million ($15.6 million) in new financial support.

Ukraine and Finland reached 30 years of diplomatic relations on Saturday, and the Finnish Foreign Ministry marked the day, saying Helsinki's support to Kyiv's sovereignty and territorial integrity is "firm."

"Wishing courage and strength to the leaders and the people of Ukraine during this difficult time," the ministry said on Twitter.

Sweden

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde on Sunday welcomed the UN Security Council's call for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on Ukraine.

"A necessary step due to Russia’s veto of the UNSC (UN Security Council) resolution last Friday," Linde said on Twitter.

She added that Sweden will send military aid to Ukraine, comprising 5,000 anti-tank weapons, 5,000 helmets, 5,000 body shields, and 135,000 field rations, as well as a fund of 500 million Swedish krona ($52.9 million) to the Ukrainian army, with the total support hitting $148.4 million.

The country also decided to ban Russian aircraft from the Swedish airspace starting from Monday.

Switzerland

Switzerland voiced its commitment to a political solution, urging Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

"Switzerland condemns Russia's military intervention against Ukraine and urges Russia to immediately cease military aggression and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory," the country's Foreign Ministry said Saturday in a statement.

"Switzerland is committed to a political solution to the conflict and is at the disposal as host or facilitator within the framework of its good offices, if the conflict parties desire this," it added.

Austria

Describing the latest developments in Ukraine as a "dark hour," Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Friday that Russia’s actions are "an impermissible attack" on a sovereign nation in Europe.

"Our worst expectations have materialised: There is a war on the European continent and Ukraine has fallen victim to another act of military aggression by Russia," Schallenberg said, addressing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

"This violates the most fundamental rules of international order and international law."

He added that Austria stands in "complete solidarity" with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

He also urged Russia to put their weapons down, withdraw from Ukraine, and get back to the negotiating table.

Ireland

Ireland also voiced its support on Feb. 21 to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by calling Russia's decision to recognize Ukraine's breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk violation of international laws.

"Ireland’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and its right to choose its own foreign and security policy path is unwavering," Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in a statement.

"The decision by the Russian Federation to proceed with the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities contravenes international law, is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and marks a clear and unilateral breach of the Minsk agreements," Coveney added.

He said Ireland supports "a clear and strong EU response, including additional sanctions measures."

Vatican

Pope Francis expressed his support to Ukraine on Saturday, tweeting: "Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God's weapons, with prayer and fasting. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war."

He also renewed his invitation to set aside March 2 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine.

His remarks were welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who said "the Ukrainian people feel the spiritual support of His Holiness."

The pontiff also visited the Russian Embassy in Rome on Friday and appealed for "greater space for negotiations."

Hüseyin Demir

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