Minister Mikkonen to visit Moldova
Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen will visit Moldova on 22–24 February. During the visit, Mikkonen will meet the Moldovan Minister of Internal Affairs Ana Revenco and the Representative of the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in Moldova, Francesca Bonelli, among others. The topics of discussion in the meetings during the trip include Ukraine’s refugees and civilian crisis management.
“Moldova has played an important role in helping refugees during Russia’s invasion. Especially in the early days of the war, Moldova showed real solidarity by welcoming large numbers of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Finland has sent assistance to Moldova through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism and has supported Moldova long before the war. Finland’s support to Moldova will continue,” says Mikkonen.
Moldova has received the largest number of people fleeing the war in Ukraine in relation to its population. Since the Russian invasion, approximately 750,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Moldova. Most of them have left Moldova for the European Union, but some have stayed in the country. According to the UNHCR, there are currently about 109,000 Ukrainian refugees in Moldova. Finland has sent expert assistance and four truckloads of material to Moldova, such as emergency accommodation, a field kitchen and multi-purpose tents. Assistance has been delivered through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism.
The European Commission is coordinating a mechanism for voluntary relocation of Ukrainian refugees, under which the Member States and associated countries (EU+ countries) can receive Ukrainian refugees from Moldova. In total, the EU+ countries have pledged to relocate nearly 20,000 people. In the early stages of the war, Finland also declared its willingness to participate in the relocations from Moldova if needed, but no concrete measures have been taken with regard to Finland. In all, the relocation process has been slow for several reasons. So far, about 2,400 relocations have been carried out from Moldova to EU+ countries.
Finland has an active role in civilian crisis management missions in Moldova
Two civilian crisis management missions are currently underway in Moldova. The first is the OSCE Mission to Moldova, whose particular mandate is to find a resolution to the Transdniestrian conflict. Antti Karttunen from Finland acts as the Deputy Head of the Mission.
The second operation is the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), which operates in both Moldova and Ukraine. EUBAM aims to develop integrated border management, including smooth border checks, measures to combat cross-border crime and cooperation between the authorities. Anssi Kartila from Finland works in EUBAM’s management in Moldova.
During her visit, Mikkonen will also meet Karttunen and Kartila and learn about civilian crisis management in Moldova.
Mikko Jalo, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 304 8522, [email protected] (requests for interviews with the Minister)
Iikka Saunamäki, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 267, [email protected] (migration) Meeri-Maria Jaarva, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 530, [email protected] (civilian crisis management)