Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin has warned that a Russian victory over Ukraine would empower other aggressors, and urged democracies against forming “critical dependencies” on authoritarian states such as China.
Ms Marin was speaking in Sydney at the end of the first-ever visit by a Finnish prime minister to Australia and New Zealand.
Australia’s pursuit of a free trade deal with the European Union was also on the agenda.
Ms Marin used her speech to urge democracies to ramp up sanctions against Russia.
She told the Lowy Institute international policy think tank: “Make no mistake – if Russia wins its terrible gamble, it will not be the only one to feel empowered.
“Others will also be tempted by the same dark agenda.”
A free trade agreement being finalised between the European Union, which includes Finland, and Australia was an opportunity to develop resilient supply chains, she said.
“We have become far too dependent on cooperation with regimes that do not share our common values,” Ms Marin added, using Finland’s reliance on Russian energy as an example.
“Our dependencies are becoming our weaknesses faster and in more important areas of our societies than we would like to happen,” she said.
The Finnish leader described trade with China as a “reality”.
“We all have worries when it comes to China and we must make sure that we don’t have that kind of critical dependencies when it comes to China,” Ms Marin said.
“We cannot be dependent, for example, on microchips or semiconductors or any kind of critical technologies when it comes to authoritarian countries. Because if those trading routes would be cut suddenly, then we would be in trouble.”
Ms Marin later met Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at his official Sydney residence. The pair released a joint statement saying their talks “underlined the need to work together in strengthening their resilience as open and democratic societies and in fostering sustainable development”.
The prime ministers “agreed that managing complex supply chains, energy sources and investing in trustworthy critical and emerging technologies was needed to promote economic, political, social and environmental stability as well as human rights”.
Australia, which is the most generous donor to Ukraine’s war effort outside Nato, and Finland, a country that is soon to became a Nato member and shares a 800-mile border with Russia, demanded in the statement Moscow immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine.