Skip to content

Putin agrees to Finnish proposal on aircraft transponders

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Finland Friday afternoon for a one-day visit focused on talks with his Finnish counterpart President Sauli Niinistö. Following their talks, Putin told the press he accepted a proposal by Niinistö and that Russia will discuss the use of transponders by aircraft over the Baltic Sea with NATO as a confidence-building measure.

Vladimir Putin ja Sauli Niinistö tiedotustilaisuudessa Kultarannassa perjantaina. Image: Yle

In his remarks following their talks, President Niinistö spoke about small steps that would help improve trust and referred to both Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region. Trust, he said, would reduce mutual fears in the Baltic Sea region.

"We are well aware that there is a feeling of fear of Russia in the Baltic countries. On the other hand, NATO is seen as a great threat in Russia. For this kind of spiral not to continue, the key word is trust," he stated.

According to President Niinistö, one step would be for aircraft to use their transponders over the Baltic Sea so that flights can be monitored.

Vladimir Putin echoed the need for building trust in the Baltic Sea region, however he said that not only Russian aircraft, but all NATO planes fly without their transponders operating.

"We agree to the proposal of the Finnish president. I will give instructions that this matter is to be put on the agenda of a meeting between NATO and Russia," Putin told the media. According to the Russian president, the meeting in question is supposed to take place in Brussels following NATO's Warsaw gathering.

Putin also took up economic relations between Finland and Russia, noting that around 7,000 Finnish companies operate in Russia and he praised cooperation between the two countries in the field of the environment.

Finland involved in sanctions decision

Asked about reviving trade between Russia and the West, Putin urged Finnish companies to invest in Russia and so make up for reduced imports.

"There are other solutions. You can ask London [about that]," he remarked.

Niinistö stressed that Finland is not observing sanctions against Russia as a matter of obeying orders, but because it was involved in making the decision to impose sanctions. He linked lifting the sanctions to progress in achieving peace in Ukraine.

"Implementing the Minsk accords would be an extremely important matter," said Niinistö

Baltic Sea tensions

Yle's Marja Manninen asked President Putin what Russian aims to achieve by increasing its military presence in the Baltic Sea since the takeover of the Crimea.

Putin responded that Russia is never provocative. He argued that it was western provocation that started the situations in the Crimea and Ukraine. He claimed that the same quarters are trying to raise tensions in the Baltic.

"NATO's military infrastructure is approaching Russia's borders in the Baltic," Putin continued.

According to Putin, NATO's missile defense and missile systems are directed against Russia. He further claimed that only Russia troop movements are considered threatening, but NATO maneuvers are not.

"Our troops have been withdrawn far from the Finnish-Russian border. At the same time troops are being increased beyond our borders in the Baltic countries. What can we do?”, he asked.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia