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"Russia remains Finland’s first trade partner in the volume of trade and economic contacts," Putin stressed at a meeting with the Finnish president in Sochi.
"Regrettably, the volume of bilateral trade has recently dropped by around eight percent and not only because of problems in the political field, but for purely economic reasons as well. On this background we are particularly glad to welcome the president of Finland and his colleagues so as to discuss all these problems," President Putin declared.
“We practically meet all Finnish needs in natural gas and are reliable suppliers of other energy resources to the Finnish market. Finland, in turn, is one of Russia’s key European partners,” Putin said.
The past few years have seen a positive trend in reciprocal trade which grew by 6.5% in 2012 and by 10% in 2013 to reach almost $19 billion. The two sides also strengthened investment cooperation.
For his part, the Finnish president declared that he arrived to discuss possibilities for settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, stop a negative turmoil there and help the situation stabilize. “The Ukrainian crisis has affected all of us,” he underlined.
“The catastrophe that is going on in Ukraine has told on all of us and concerns all,” Niinisto said. As a result of the events in Ukraine certain damage has been caused to the traditional relations which developed between Russia and Finland. The situation has changed on a global scale as well," Niinisto said, adding that some people said "it was an onslaught of a new Cold War.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said after talks with President Vladimir Putin on Friday that Russia’s relief aid to Ukraine would hopefully mark the first step in settling the Ukraine crisis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia and Finland would exert every effort to seek the earliest end of conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“We are going to do everything within our power to end the military conflict as soon as possible, establish a dialogue among all the parties concerned and provide relief aid,” Putin said, adding both countries were seriously concerned with the large-scale military operations and a true humanitarian disaster in southeast Ukraine.