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Finnish President addresses Nato parliamentary seminar in Helsinki

President Niinistö suggested that China, the US and the EU should discuss together how to avoid further escalation of the deadly conflict in Ukraine.

Presidentti Sauli Niinistö puhuu Naton parlamentaarisen yleiskokouksen seminaarissa
Yle News

Parliamentarians from Nato member and partner countries gathered in Helsinki on Tuesday for the alliance's Rose-Roth Seminar.

The theme of this year's seminar focused on the changing security environment in Northern Europe, which is affected by problems, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine as well as the challenges posed by climate change.

During a speech at the gathering, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said that Ukraine has every right, and good reasons for, defending itself against Russia.

Niinistö said he does not see an end to the hostilities due to the lack of dialogue between the two countries.

He suggested that China, the US and the EU should discuss together how to avoid further escalation of the deadly conflict.

Those discussions, he said, should not aim towards forcing a peace agreement, but rather try to save the world from an escalation.

Niinistö characterized Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a turning point and the beginning of a new era in European history, saying that many people thought that the peaceful situation before the attack seemed like it would last.

"But now this seems to have changed. And this will put us to the test — are we resilient or not?" he pondered.

The Finnish president reiterated that he thinks Finland and Sweden should continue on their path of joining Nato together. So far, 28 out of the 30 Nato member states have ratified the Nordic countries' bid for membership in the alliance. However, Turkey has had concerns with Sweden's accession.

As a condition of ratifying the two Nordic countries' bid to join Nato, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has demanded that they hand over Kurdish activists suspected of terrorism. But Erdoğan has said he looks differently at Finland compared to Sweden in their approach to terrorism.

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