MOSCOW, May 12. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin and his Finnish counterpart Jukka Juusti in Moscow on Friday discussed possible steps on reducing tensions in Europe and flight safety in the Baltic region, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
"During the meeting, the sides discussed security issues in Europe, including possible steps on reducing tensions. They confirmed the need to continue dialogue on preventing incidents at sea and ensuring flight safety in the Baltic region," the ministry said.
Fomin informed his Finnish counterpart about the assessments of the situation in Syria and also Russia’s efforts on creating de-escalation zones in the country and providing humanitarian assistance, the ministry said.
The Russian deputy defense minister also confirmed that Finnish experts were invited to take part in the International Army Games -2017 and the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017.
"The meeting was constructive. An agreement was reached on continuing the dialogue between defense ministries of the two countries," the ministry said.
Earlier, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said military flights with transponders (devices used for identification) turned off should be avoided over the Baltic Sea region. This could become the first step towards achieving more mutual understanding between Russia and the Baltic states. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in early May that the discussion on this issue had not been initiated yet.
According to Lavrov, Russia backed the initiative of the Finnish president but NATO partners reacted only six months later and only recently said they would be ready to discuss the Russian proposal in detail.