Friday 12/3/21
FINLAND

Finnish president heads to Russia this week to meet Putin

Finland is a close partner of NATO but is not a member of the alliance

President Sauli Niinisto speaking to the press. Photo: Hanne Salonen/Eduskunta.
President Sauli Niinisto speaking to the press. Photo: Hanne Salonen/Eduskunta/File photo.

Finland's President Sauli Niinisto is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin during a working visit to Moscow later this week.

They plan to discuss bilateral relations between Finland and Russia, along with regional and international issues at their meeting on Friday, according to a statement by Niinisto's office.

The Kremlin also confirmed Niinisto's plan.

The two last met in August 2019, when Putin travelled to Finland.

Of all the countries in the EU, Finland shares the longest border with Russia.

Finland is a close partner of NATO but is not a member of the alliance.

NATO chief in Helsinki

During a visit with Niinisto in Helsinki on Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commented on the need to reduce tensions between the bloc and Russia.

Finland has an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with Russia, which could also help NATO, Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference with Niinisto.

"We need to reduce tensions, and especially when times are difficult, as now, it is even more important to talk to Russia," Stoltenberg said.

"I also welcome the fact that Finland plays a role in reaching out to, and is able to have a meaningful dialogue with Russia. And that also can help NATO in our engagement with Russia."

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