Statement by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö after the meeting with President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 15 August 2014

(transcript of spoken statement, translation)

“I want to thank president Putin for a very open discussion. Like he said, Finland and Russia have a very diverse relationship. We have a long tradition of economic cooperation, we have good political ties and in the border region people cross the border and meet each other, take care of things between themselves. Today we also discussed some meaningful projects, long term economic projects, that seem to be progressing and that do not have anything to do with sanctions.

But it is true that sanctions do affect economy as a whole, also globally speaking. They are the result of the crisis in Ukraine and therefore today we discussed for a about solving the crisis for a long time. The crisis is not a catastrophy only to the ukrainians, it has broad repercussions. Personally I am very worried about the dramatic cooling down of the EU-Russia relationship and globally we have heard talk about being on the doorstep of a new cold war.

We have today heard that the aid convoy that the people in eastern Ukraine so desperately need is moving forward and that Russia, Ukraine and the Red Cross have found some common ground in delivering the aid. Hopefully this is a sign of a possibility to find mutual trust as trust is needed to take the next step. The next step should be a ceasefire. To silence the guns it is essential to have trust and action also from Russia. No weapons can cross the border.

Right now it seems that there are some common efforts, though small ones, towards solving issues. I want to wish success to Russia and the international actors in these efforts. And before I end, I wish to remind you, that Finland has been ready and is still ready to offer its services, if these services can be of any help to make progress.”