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Finnish Monument Honors Ukrainian Soldiers Lost in the Winter War

14. February 2013 by Dasha 0 Comments

On November 30, 1939, Soviet forces invaded Finland to seize territory near the Russian/Finnish border. The Red Army claimed they needed the territory to defend Leningrad, around 25 miles away, but the Finns resisted, sparking a three-month conflict now known as the Winter War. 

 

After much bloodshed, hostilities finally ceased on March 13, 1940. Casualties in the Winter War were high, particularly on the Soviet side. Though the Soviets vastly outnumbered the Finns at the start of the conflict, they lost over 126,000 men in battle. The Finns lost 25,000. However, thanks to the Monument of the Winter War, these fallen soldiers won’t be forgotten anytime soon.  

 

Located in the Finnish county of Suomussalmi, at the site of some of the War’s fiercest battles, the monument encompasses 30,000 square meters and contains around 20,000 stones, each representing a Finnish, Russian, or Ukrainian life lost. The 105 bells at the center of the monument represent each day of the war.

 

The Monument of the Winter War was a joint effort between Finland’s Raatteen Portti Museum and Karelian State Museum and Russia’s Medvezhegorsk’s State museum and the Russia Museum of Karelian front.

 

The Winter War monument isn't the only way Finns honor Ukrainians. According to the Embassy of Ukraine in Finland, a memorial also marks the spot of Ukraine's first diplomatic mission to Finland.

 

The Polynational War Memorial