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President Niinistö: A new kind of Cold War

President Sauli Niinistö says that relations between Russia and the West are beginning to be more tense than at any time since the Cold War. This, he stated, can be seen in the Baltic Sea region.

Sauli Niinistö.
Tasavallan presidentti Sauli Niinistö. Image: Yle

Speaking at the opening of a national defense seminar in Helsinki on Monday, President Niinistö attributed the increase in tensions to the consequences of the crisis in Ukraine.

The development of a new kind of Cold War threatens to shift the international environment in a more fragile direction for a long time to come, according to Niinistö.

"It can be, but not necessarily be, eased. There is nothing to be won and so it is worthwhile striving against it," the President told his audience.

According to Niinistö, the Ukraine crisis also affecting the Finns. This can be seen above all in the Baltic Sea region. He pointed out that the military presence that was a commonplace in the vicinity of Finland during the 1980s "had managed to be forgotten".

President Ninistö also alluded to a Russian proverb, according to which a Cossack takes what is loosely tied down.

"One has to hold tight. If one does not, things can start happening. This concerns everything, from security to the economy," said Ninistö.

President Niinistö stated that he considers Finland's overall defense capability credible. However, he questioned whether funding is sufficient, saying that finances threaten to become "our Achilles heel".

Even with the pressures to reduce state spending, Niinistö argued that the capabilities and development of the Defense Forces have to be ensured.

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