The talks at Kultaranta demonstrated differences in opinion on the causes of the security threats and altered circumstances in the Baltic Sea.
“On one hand it seemed that Finland is a partner and cooperator with Russia, and that the two countries have a great deal of common ground,” Smith says. “But on the other Putin gave the impression that Finland is capitulating to various international organisations such as the EU and Nato, and is unable to make independent decisions.
“These are the two conflicting images that Russia chooses between as it sees fit.”
Agree to disagree?
Differing views were also expressed at the Kultaranta meeting over the causes of the Baltic Sea’s current security environment.
“Opinions also differed on what instigated the Ukraine crisis, the occupation of Crimea and later the war in Ukraine. Finland and Russia are also at odds over what it means to be a member of the EU and Finland’s standing therein,” Smith says.
Presidents Putin and Sauli Niinistö discussed current political hot topics on Friday afternoon in Kultaranta, Naantali during Putin’s one-day business trip.
Reuters also picked up the news of president Putin’s visit.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canada’s defence review and the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic
Denmark: Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News
Finland: Sweden dismisses NATO talk, Finland says no Russian threat, Yle News
Norway: Norway creates new Army unit on Arctic border with Russia, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: New Russian spy ship to keep tabs on Norway, Barents Observer
United States: U.S. general says Alaska military cuts not final without Arctic plan, Alaska Public Radio Network