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Niinistö after Ukraine visit: "Open discussion is needed"

At a press conference held upon his return from Ukraine on Saturday, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said the main priority in negotiations to resolve the Ukraine crisis should be to cease the fighting and put an end to the loss of life.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö held a press conference at the Helsinki Airport on Saturday, immediately upon his arrival home from his trip to Kiev and Sochi. He held three-hour long negotiations in both locations, first with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday and next with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday.

Niinistö commented that the trip demonstrated to him the vital need for open discussion and communications. He also noted that both parties asked him to continue his communication efforts.

The President acknowledged that he had carried a message from Russia to Ukraine on his visit, but was not at liberty to reveal the content.

Niinistö added that most of the attention devoted to the Ukraine crisis is focused on ending the fighting, as people are dying. He nevertheless emphasized that the parties are only embarking on the initial steps towards a solution.

“The continuation of fighting is the greatest risk,” he said.

Niinistö strongly rejected the notion that he would be seeking out a peace-broker’s role. Yet at the same time he reiterated that Finland is committed to making every effort to assist with solving the crisis.

The Finnish President concluded the press conference by mentioning that he planned to make several phone calls to countries within and outside the EU yet this evening.

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