President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö made a working visit to Russia and met with President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday, 29 October 2021.
The official discussions of the visit were held in the Kremlin during the afternoon. The topics of discussion included the coronavirus situation, bilateral issues concerning for example trade and forestry cooperation, Arctic and other international concerns, and the Helsinki Spirit.
“In just over three hours, we managed to cover many issues,” said President Niinistö after the discussions at a video meeting arranged for the Finnish media.
President Niinistö said that the Presidents stated in the discussions that there had been an increase in trade between Finland and Russia. With regard to forestry cooperation, the importance of forests as carbon sinks and their protection were discussed. “It is an issue that we will surely continue to discuss. It means, for example, closer cooperation on forest fires and sharing Finnish expertise in forest management.” President Niinistö also said that he had raised issues related to wood imports.
Russia took over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council this year. President Niinistö said that many concerns remained as a legacy from the Finnish Presidency, such as the issue of black coal. “It seems that Russia is planning to bring together climate representatives of heads of state for a joint meeting specifically on climate issues. In addition, they will keep up the opportunity for the summit meeting, which was talked about during the Finnish chairmanship.”
In addition, the President said that he had brought up the Helsinki Spirit in the meeting. President Niinistö stated that the need for Helsinki Spirit kind of dialogue is even greater than during the Cold War, when the balance of terror was very concrete. “Today, we are talking about artificial intelligence, the use of space technology militarily, robots and so on, when so-called tracking is becoming very difficult. This situation – if any – would surely require at least a minimum level of mutual trust between those who are most knowledgeable, in order to avoid their invisible use.”
In addition, President Niinistö said that the Presidents had also spoken about other international issues.
The Presidents last met on 21 August 2019, when President Putin visited Finland.