The office of the President of Finland reports the conversation in one press release Saturday.
The Finnish president told Putin in a telephone conversation on Saturday that Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has changed the security situation for Finland.
– The conversation was direct and straight forward, and it was conducted without exaggeration. Avoiding tensions is seen as important, says President Niinistö in the press release.
He stressed to Putin that the country would deal with the neighborhood with Russia professionally, and reiterated its concerns about human suffering as a result of the war in Ukraine.
In the conversation, Putin is said to have said that moving away from Finnish neutrality would be a mistake, reports Reuters. Such a change in Finland’s foreign policy will be negative for bilateral relations, Putin said.
At the same time, he emphasizes that there are no security threats to Finland.
The two presidents have also discussed peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, according to the state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti. According to Putin, the negotiations have been put on hold because Kyiv should not be interested in constructive dialogue.
The conversation took place on Finnish initiative, writes the Finnish presidential office.
Cuts power supply
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko says the Russians’ response to Finnish and Swedish NATO members will depend on how NATO sets up operations in the countries.
Grushko says Russia will take adequate action if NATO were to deploy nuclear forces and infrastructure near the Russian border, writes Reuters, quoting Russian RIA.
At the same time, Grushko says that Russia has no hostile intentions towards Sweden and Finland.
This happens after the Russian energy company RAO Nordic threatened to cut off the power supply as a result of payment problems.
– It is at zero at the moment, and it started from midnight as planned, a spokesman for Finnish Fingrid said about the import of electricity from Russia to AFP on Saturday.
Turkey can suspend membership
The Social Democratic Party of Finland decided on Saturday that they support a Finnish application for NATO membership.
In practice, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can prevent this, says Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv, professor of security studies at the University of Tromsø.
“We are following developments with regard to Sweden and Finland, but we do not view it positively,” Erdogan said in a live broadcast.
On Saturday, however, a spokesman for Erdogan rejects that Turkey is trying to block a NATO membership for Sweden and Finland, writes Reuters.
– We do not close the door. We are only raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey, spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in an interview with Reuters in Istanbul.
There has traditionally been opposition to NATO membership in Sweden and Finland. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, support for membership among the peoples of the countries has increased.
The Finnish president says in an interview with Swedes SVT that they are not afraid of the Russians. However, he says that Finland must be vigilant, and that a fast process is therefore important.
A Swedish NATO application may be ready as early as Monday, according to Swedish Expressen.
Earlier this week Sweden and Finland also signed a new security agreement with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson. There, the British leader promises to support both countries’ armed forces should they come under attack.