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Finnish president, foreign minister meet with Latvian, French counterparts

"We are like-minded countries, but we are also countries that are facing similar geopolitical challenges," Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics said.

Latvian President Egars Rinkevics and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics held a press conference after their discussion on Thursday. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle
Yle News

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö hosted Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics on a working visit on Thursday.

"We are like-minded countries, but we are also countries that are facing similar geopolitical challenges," Rinkevics said at a press conference.

The visit was Rinkevics' first to Finland since taking office in July.

The two presidents discussed bilateral relations between Finland and Latvia including a joint production initiative to build armoured vehicles. They also discussed Ukraine-related security issues in the Baltic Sea and Europe.

"We are amazed - and have amazed ourselves - at how strongly the West and like-minded nations have been able to help Ukraine and will help in the future too," Niinistö said, referring to their respective countries' response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Both also spoke about decisions to further limit traffic at their borders with Russia by banning the entry of Russian-registered cars.

French FM makes Finland visit

Meanwhile, Finland's Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen (NCP) met with her French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, on Thursday in Helsinki.

Colonna called for united support behind Ukraine from Nato countries.

"We must all show solidarity. That is the message from Finland and France and from most member states. This unity must also be shown against Russia," Colonna said.

Colonna called for continued military, economic and humanitarian support to enable Ukraine to defend itself and regain its full sovereignty. These sentiments were also echoed by Valtonen, who responded to criticisms that Ukraine and the West have escalated the conflict.

"We have the right under international treaties to help Ukraine. This is not an escalation. Only Russia is responsible for escalation," Valtonen said.

Following the French and Latvian visits, Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas will be visiting Finland on Friday.

On Thursday evening, the government announced that Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) will visit Paris next Wednesday for talks with President Emmanuel Macron and PM Élisabeth Borne.

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18.20: Updated with Orpo visit.

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