Presidents of Russia, Finland discuss MH17, ceasefire hopes

President Niinistö set up a telephone conversation with his Russian opposite number on Wednesday as tensions grew over Ukraine. (Yle Uutisgrafiikka)
President Niinistö set up a telephone conversation with his Russian opposite number on Wednesday as tensions grew over Ukraine. (Yle Uutisgrafiikka)
Presidents Niinistö and Putin traded views on the prospects for a credible probe of last week’s downing of a passenger jet over Eastern Ukraine and bringing about an armistice on the ground.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday to discuss the Ukrainian crisis. The call came at Finland’s initiative.

According to a statement released by his office on Wednesday evening, Niinistö urged Putin to ensure that Russia is fully cooperating to peacefully resolve the crisis and to probe last Thursday’s shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Niinistö told Putin that the plane’s fate must be determined by an impartial, independent international investigation, and that blocking or endangering this would be reprehensible.

The statement quotes Putin as saying that Russia supports an impartial investigation to clarify the situation, and that he considers it important to quickly achieve a ceasefire in Ukraine.

Niinistö pointed out to his opposite number in Moscow that the shooting down of the civilian passenger aircraft had deepened the Ukrainian crisis.

So far Finnish leaders have a taken cautious line on the Ukrainian crisis, partly out of concerns over undermining crucial trade and cooperation with neighbouring Russia.

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: Tuomioja satisfied with EU-Russia sanctions stance, Yle News

Norway:  Nordics rethink security after Ukraine crisis, Yle News

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

Sweden: Sweden pushes for tougher Russia sanctions, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S.-Russia tensions create worries for Arctic scientists, Yle News

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