Stubb honours war dead on Memorial Day ahead of Lapland trip

The Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb (THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP via Getty Images)

President Alexander Stubb laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at Helsinki’s Hietaniemi Cemetery on Sunday morning as Finland observed Memorial Day, honouring those who have died in Finland’s wars and peacekeeping missions. The president serves as commander-in-chief of the Finnish Defence Forces.

Memorial Day, also known as the Commemoration Day of Fallen Soldiers, has been observed on the third Sunday of May since 1940, when the tradition was established by the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces, Marshal CGE Mannerheim, just after the Winter War. Mannerheim later served as president in 1944–46.

In the past, the Finnish flag was flown at half-mast on Memorial Day until 2 pm before being raised to full mast, but now it is flown in the normal way throughout the day.

On Friday, Stubb discussed Ukraine and cooperation in the Nordic and Arctic regions with Icelandic President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson in Helsinki. On Saturday, Jóhannesson was conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Oulu in northern Finland.

President visits Sámi Parliament

Next week, Stubb will make a provincial visit to Finnish Lapland. The head of state will head to the two northernmost municipalities, Utsjoki and Inari, on Thursday and Friday.

Stubb is to meet with schoolchildren, municipality leaders, reindeer breeders and representatives of the Sámi Parliament, which is embroiled in a dispute over voting rights.

He will also visit the Sámi Museum and Siida Nature Centre, which was recently honoured as the European Museum of the Year, as well as the Kevo Subarctic Research Institute.

Utsjoki and Inari have been hit by flooding in recent days due to rapid snowmelt, with rescue officials evacuating residents on Sunday.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada pledges billions for defence, falls short of NATO’s 2%, CBC News

Denmark: Denmark’s Arctic, North Atlantic focus: Canada among new defence attaché posts, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: US soldiers get a day out in Lapland, Yle News

Faroe Islands: Parliament passes Faroe Islands’ Arctic policy, Eye on the Arctic

Norway“Historical strengthening of our Armed Forces,” says Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: New commander of North Russian armed forces has served in Ukraine, Syria, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedes must mentally prepare for war, says military top brass, Radio Sweden

United States: White House releases U.S. Arctic strategy implementation plan, Eye on the Arctic

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