Finland’s president calls on Russia to do more to defuse Ukrainian crisis

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President Niinistö meets Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at the presidential summer residence Kultaranta. (Yle)
President Niinistö meets Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at the presidential summer residence Kultaranta. (Yle)
At the end of a two-day visit, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told the Finnish president that Russia is already doing its utmost to alleviate the political and military conflict that has arisen in Ukraine.

Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö has called on the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to take a more active role in easing the conflict in Ukraine. Niinistö and Lavrov met on Tuesday morning at the president’s summer residence Kultaranta, near Naantali.

Lavrov said at the meeting that Russian had taken all possible steps to alleviate the crisis. Niinisto, however, called on Russia to do more.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Niinistö said that Finnish security policy was not discussed. He said that Russia understands that the conflict in Ukraine has stirred up debate in Finland over this country’s own security policy. Niinistö said it is important that Russian president Vladimir Putin understands Finland’s position on the Nato membership debate.

Niinistö also reported that Russia’s stance on Finland becoming a member of the Nato military alliance has not changed.

EU-Russian relations also made their way onto the agenda at the talks, Niinistö said. The president said he offered Finland’s help in improving relations between the two powers, and told Mr Lavrov that Finland has already worked for many years to this end. “Good EU-Russia relations are a benefit to Finland as well,” Niinistö said.

From Kultaranta Lavrov will travel to St Petersburg, where he will meet German and Polish representatives.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Feature Interview: Will Russia’s actions in Ukraine affect relations in the Arctic Council?, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s NATO membership no substitute for strong nation defence, Yle News

Norway:  Nordics rethink security after Ukraine crisis, Yle News

Russia: Russia puts countries on edge in the Arctic, Cryopolitics

Sweden: Sweden’s defense minister calls for more fighter jets to counter Russian threat, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. official criticises Russia for meddling in Finland’s NATO, Yle News

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