The prime minister of Finland said this Friday that Europe “is not strong enough” to face Moscow alone, in a “very honest” assessment of European capabilities in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On a visit to Australia, Sanna Marin said Russia’s invasion and occupation of neighboring Ukraine had exposed Europe’s weaknesses and strategic mistakes in dealing with Moscow.
“I have to be very honest (….) with you, Europe is not strong enough. Right now, we would be in trouble without the United States”, said the country’s leader, a candidate for membership of NATO, in a speech at the Lowy Institute , a Sydney-based think tank.
Marin insisted that Ukraine needed help in “every way”, adding that the US had played a central role in providing Kiev with the weapons, money and humanitarian aid needed to halt Russia’s advance.
“We have to make sure that we also strengthen these capabilities in terms of European defense, European defense industry and that we can deal with different types of situations,” he said.
Finland gained independence from Russia almost 105 years ago, and not long after, it inflicted heavy losses on the invading Soviet army.
The Finnish leader criticized EU policies that highlighted the importance of engaging with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said the European bloc should have listened to member states that were part of the former Soviet Union.
Since joining the EU in 2004, nations such as Estonia and Poland had urged other EU members to take a tougher line on Putin, a stance shunned by France, Germany, Italy and Greece, which favored closer ties. economic ties with Moscow.
“For a long time, Europe built a strategy towards Russia to strengthen our economic ties, to buy energy from Russia… we thought that this would avoid a war”, but this approach turned out to be “completely wrong”, he criticized Marine.
“They don’t care about economic ties, they don’t care about sanctions. They don’t want to know about any of that,” he stressed.