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Finland sends school busses to Ukraine

Ministry of Transport and CommunicationsMinistry of the Interior
Publication date 7.12.2022 6.59
Press release
Picture: European Union 2022

On Wednesday 7 December, Finland sent buses to Ukraine to be used to transport children and young people to school. This donation is part of the European Commission’s solidarity campaign. Russia’s war of aggression has affected an estimated 5.7 million schoolchildren in Ukraine with many schools having been destroyed in bombing.

“Russia has intensified its attacks on civilian targets as winter approaches. The destruction is extensive, and Ukraine needs many forms of help. For example, there is a shortage of functioning vehicles in the country. Finland has also sent Ukraine medicines, healthcare supplies and assistance relating to the energy sector. We will continue to listen to Ukraine’s requests and provide assistance accordingly. I would like to thank everyone who has offered their assistance,” says Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen.

Finland will send more busses to Ukraine at the end of the year. The plan is to send at least 20 busses, the first five of which were sent on Wednesday. Bus companies Koiviston Auto Oy, Pohjolan Liikenne and Erkki Itkonen Oy are donating the busses.

The donations from companies are a significant part of the material assistance sent from Finland to Ukraine.

“Even in the midst of war, the Ukrainian people are looking to the future. When the war has been won, Finland can respond to President Zelensky’s request to help Ukraine rebuild its education system. Until then, daily life must go on despite the war. The busses that have now been sent to Ukraine are a concrete way to help children and young people get to school,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka

The busses are being provided through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The Ministry of the Interior is coordinating the civilian assistance provided by the Finnish Government to Ukraine.

Finland has provided a wide range of material assistance to Ukraine since February

Since the war started in February, Finland has sent 50 truckloads of civilian material assistance to Ukraine and 4 to Moldova. Finland has also sent 6 fire engines and 13 ambulances to Ukraine. The monetary value of the civilian material assistance is over four million euros. Several shipments with a combined value of several million euros are currently being prepared. 

In addition, Finland has sent experts to Poland, Moldova, Slovakia and the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) to help coordinate the assistance delivered through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism. The ERCC is coordinating assistance to Ukraine and the neighbouring areas through the Civil Protection Mechanism.  

Ukraine will need assistance for a long time

The current aid operation is exceptional, and the need for assistance is expected to continue for a long time. As a result of intensified attacks in recent weeks, there is a massive need for supplies for the energy sector, in particular. All of Ukrainian society, from citizens to the authorities maintaining the functions of society, will continue to need various kinds of material assistance. Ukraine currently needs medicines, first aid supplies, shelters, water purification tablets, mine clearance equipment, CBRN protective and counter-measure materials, back-up generators and fuels. The needs continue to change.  

The Ministry of the Interior is coordinating donations by businesses and public administration. The most effective way for private individuals to help is by donating money to aid organisations. Donated items and supplies are delivered to those in need of assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and in cooperation with the responsible authorities in Ukraine. Assistance provided through the Civil Protection Mechanism is coordinated by the European Commission. This will ensure that donations can be monitored and that they reach their destination.

Inquiries:
Pekka Tiainen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 323 488 227, pekka.tiainen@govsec.fi 
Mikko Jalo, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Interior, tel. +358 50 304 8522, mikko.jalo@gov.fi (requests for interviews with the Minister of the Interior)
Antti Malste, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 400 1628, antti.malste@gov.fi (requests for interviews with the Minister of Transport and Communications)

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