Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a working visit to Finland on Friday. As the Kremlin press service previously reported, the visit will take place at the invitation of Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
During the forthcoming talks that will be held in the city of Naantali, the sides are expected to discuss a broad range of issues of Russian-Finnish relations, including in the trade and economic and cultural-humanitarian spheres. They will also touch upon the current interregional and cross-border cooperation issues.
The visit program includes Putin’s narrow-format talks with Niinisto, talks at a working lunch and a joint press conference of the two presidents. No signing of joint documents is planned.
Relations with Europe
Speaking about the upcoming talks’ agenda, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said they will discuss topical European development issues and the European Unions’s relations with Russia.
“We have, for well-known reasons, a shrinking, but still quite considerable bilateral trade volume, economic and trade relations. There are also promising projects of cooperation,” he said. “And, of course, there is a mutual interest in exchanging views on the important issues of European development, relations between Europe and Russia as a whole, current regional crises that one way or another affect the atmosphere in which our states live.”
According to him, the dimension of the EU-Russia relations is traditionally discussed during contacts with Finland. “And therefore, this working visit will take place within the framework of the ongoing dialogue and regular exchange of views,” Peskov said.
He also said that during the upcoming visit Putin had no plans to raise the issue of lifting of sanctions on Russia. No, we will not raise this issue,” he said. The Kremlin spokesman said that Russia “traditionally does not raise the sanctions’ issue.” “Probably, neither the (sanctions) lifting or extension is an item on our agenda”, he added. “Moreover, now that we can say with confidence that a rather fast process of the Russian economy’s adaptation to existence under the conditions of sanctions’ exchange has begun, there’s no way for this issue to be put on our agenda”, Peskov said. On the contrary, Russia, for its part, is ready to create favorable conditions for doing business in the country, so even in the current environment it counts on a rather effective development of relations with Europe.
Peskov also said that during the talks the sides would possibly discuss a number of pressing international problems, including the situation in Ukraine, Syria and the international relations after the recent Brexit referendum in the UK. “The general Russia-EU relations dill be discussed, there will also be an exchange of views on the most pressing international issues, possibly including Ukraine and Syria.”
The Kremlin spokesman said that the Russian side “would like to hear the opinion of our Finnish colleagues on the system of coordinates, which might be formed after the known UK referendum”.
Peskov also said that the sides may the side might discuss the Russian-Finnish border issue, if it is raised by the Finnish side. On March 22, the two countries’ presidents agreed to introduce temporary traffic restrictions at the Salla-Salla and Lotta-Raja-Jooseppi crossing points on the Russian-Finnish border for a period of 180 days.
Crossing the border in these areas was allowed only to citizens of the Russian Federation, Belarus and Finland, as well as to their family members, regardless of their nationality, accompanying or following them. The restrictions were introduced on April 10.