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Finnish, Estonian presidents discuss Ukraine, Nato and energy

"Since the end of the Cold War, hardly any other European country has strengthened its defence forces the way Finland has," Niinistö said.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Estonian President Alar Karis (on right) in Tallinn, Estonia on Tuesday. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his Estonian counterpart Alar Karis discussed the countries' ongoing cooperation as well as security and energy policies during an official meeting in Estonia on Tuesday.

The presidents also talked about issues including Finland's pending membership in Nato as well as Russia's attack on Ukraine.

The two leaders said at a joint press conference that while Ukraine's defence forces have made progress, assessing when the conflict might end was not possible.

Referring to last week's attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, Niinistö noted that Finland has been preparing to deal with sabotage of infrastructure for a long time.

Regarding security issues, Niinistö pointed out that Finland has also been preparing its defence capabilities for decades.

Nato, dissidents and defence

"Since the end of the Cold War, hardly any other European country has strengthened its defence forces the same way Finland has," Niinistö said.

However, he said that the Kremlin's recent threats of a nuclear strike were not likely to take shape.

Niinistö also noted that Finland was trying its best to assist Russian dissidents, and that Finland's recent decision to suspend issuing tourist visas to Russians also included possibilities to apply for asylum.

The Finnish president further thanked Estonia for the support it has shown throughout the Nato application and accession process, and praised the cooperation between the two countries.

Niinistö also raised the topical issue of energy security, saying that it was good that Finland and Estonia managed to build a secure energy infrastructure which will continue to provide a secure supply of energy throughout the winter.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas is to join Niinistö and Karis on a visit to the Tapa Army Base, Estonia's largest military base.

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