Speaking with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, President Trump today insisted that the United States remains “very, very protective” of the Baltic region and is preparing US forces to handle any threat posed by Russia in the region.

This was a subject of discussion because Russia and China are in the midst of a joint naval exercise in the Baltic Sea, which US and NATO officials have been talking up as a major threat. President Niinisto, however, had recently met with Russian President Putin on the exercise beforehand.

Instead of playing it up as a grave threat, Niinisto noted that the US, Sweden, and Finland regularly conduct naval exercises in the Baltic as well, saying that there are risks of miscommunications on both sides, and should be a focus on dialogue.

Trump had previously been an advocate of improved diplomacy with Russia, but did not appear to give any support to this comment, instead focusing on the ability of US and NATO military forces to “handle” anything that happens.

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