US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki in 2018. Before the two leaders one-on-one meeting, Trump was invited to have breakfast by Finish President Sauli Niinistö. On that occasion, Niinistö gave Trump some tips about Putin.
Trump’s ex-national security adviser John Bolton's new book 'The Room Where it Happened' gave details about that breakfast.
“Although we covered a number of topics, Niinistö wanted to make three points on Russia, the first being how to deal with Putin. Niinistö reminded Trump that Putin was a fighter, and Trump should therefore hit back if attacked. Second, Niinistö stressed the importance of respecting Putin, and that if trust were established, he might be more discrete. Finally, again as if preparing for a boxing match, Niinistö warned Trump never to provide an opening or give even one inch,” said Bolton in the book.
After this conversation, Trump offered NATO membership to Finland. According to Bolton, Niinistö neither say ‘Yes’ nor ‘No’.
“Trump asked if Finland wanted to join NATO, and Niinistö gave the complicated Finnish answer, not saying yes or no, but leaving the door open. Niinistö went back to his pep talk, saying Putin was not stupid and wouldn’t attack NATO countries.”
Also, in the book Bolton claims that Niinistö believes Putin will never give back Crimea to the Ukraine.