Finland state

Biden meets with Finnish president to ease tensions on Ukrainian border

President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on Monday about their common concern over growing Russian militarization along the Ukrainian border.

Biden and Niinistö spoke of efforts the two countries could make to deal with Russia’s “destabilizing military build-up along the Ukrainian border,” according to a reading of the White House call.

The couple also discussed “the importance of transatlantic efforts to defuse the situation,” the White House continued.

A reading accompanying the Finnish government’s appeal said that “the main topic of the conversation was the worrying situation at Ukraine’s borders. The presidents felt it was important to cooperate in order to find a diplomatic solution to the situation. tense “.

“President Niinistö explained to President Biden the main pillars of Finnish security policy … In addition, President Niinistö opened his reflection on the spirit of Helsinki to President Biden,” continued the Finnish government.

Finland shares an 830 mile border with Russia, and the two countries enjoy close relations. The United States has often attempted to use Finland as an intermediary in its diplomatic relations with Russia.

The Finnish capital of Helsinki has already hosted a bilateral summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and former President Donald Trump in 2018. In addition, President Niinistö again proposed Helsinki for the first meeting between Biden and Putin in April, although this summit finally took place in April. Geneva, Switzerland.

President Joe Biden spoke with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on Monday about Russia’s growing militarization along Ukraine’s border, despite assurances from the Kremlin that Russia is not planning an invasion. Here, the flags of the United States and Finland are fluttering in the wind.
iStock / Getty

Even as diplomatic relations continue, Russia continues to escalate what appear to be preparations for a Ukrainian invasion, although the Kremlin has consistently denied this to be the case.

Biden had previously told reporters that a US military presence in Ukraine would not take place even if Russia invaded it, saying that option was “not on the table.” However, he added that he would help Ukraine “defend its sovereign territory”.

Given the territorial proximity between Finland and Russia, Niinistö also appears to be continuing efforts to lower the temperature along the Ukrainian border. Niinistö, like Biden, reiterated his support for Ukrainian sovereignty and has reportedly spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about de-escalation options.

Niinistö is also expected to have a phone call with Putin on Tuesday, according to the Finnish reading.

While neither the United States nor Finland appears keen to take military action against Russia, Biden also hailed Finland’s selection of the F-35 as the next Finnish Air Force fighter jet.

Biden expressed his hope to Niinistö that “the supply [of F-35s] would provide a solid basis for an even closer bilateral defense relationship for years to come. “

The sale of the planes marks the latest chapter in an ongoing military relationship between the United States and Finland.

In 2016, the two countries signed a bilateral defense pact that pledged to cooperate in shipbuilding, nuclear defense and the development of technologies for the Arctic, an area of ​​growing interest for the two nations ”, according to the press release. Military Time.

the Time noted that the two countries have also worked together on numerous naval, air and land exercises.

Similar military pacts were also made between the United States and Finland’s northern neighbor, Sweden.

News week has contacted the U.S. Embassy in Finland for comment.