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Presidential candidate warns against sparking tensions between Russia and Finland

March 13, 16:40 UTC+3 HELSINKI

Pekka Haavisto says contrast fueling alarmist moods towards Russia won’t help to remedy the situation

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Finland’s Green League presidential candidate, Pekka Haavisto

Finland’s Green League presidential candidate, Pekka Haavisto

© EPA/KIMMO BRANDT

HELSINKI, March 13. /TASS/. Finland and Russia have the possibility to bolster cooperation in sectors that are not subject to sanctions, and in contrast fueling alarmist moods towards Russia won’t help to remedy the situation, Finland’s Green League presidential candidate, Pekka Haavisto, told TASS on Monday.

"Developments over the past few years - in Crimea and in Ukraine - have naturally alarmed many Finns as to how ‘the rules of the game,’ customs and traditions function in Europe, and whether the same events can happen in proximity to Finland," Pekka Haavisto said.

"That is why we have supported and tried to help with the implementation of the Minsk agreements that demand action both from Russia and Ukraine," the Green League’s candidate added.

"We see growing militarization of the Baltic Sea region, we are concerned about the deployment of Russian Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad. In my opinion, the Finnish defense forces must stay in control of this, but I myself don’t like this atmosphere in which panic is cultivated," Haavisto stressed.

"Taking a look at some of our media, we can see a lot of hype in it," the politician went on, saying "some Finnish media outlets and society sometimes hold discussion in a rather frightening manner, with references to the past, reminiscent of war". "It is very difficult to build the future on this," he believes.

Haavisto said Finnish President Sauli Niinisto "has done a lot of good for relations with Russia, he maintains dialogue with President Vladimir Putin, which has won recognition and support in Europe."

"There was a certain stage when sanctions had been recently approved, when we saw some decline in cooperation in that sectors that were not under the sanctions. I believe much emphasis must be put on developing a partnership in the sectors not subject to sanctions," Haavisto concluded.

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