President Sauli Niinistö and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin exchanged traditional New Year greetings by phone on Monday, according to a statement from Niinistö’s office.
The president’s staff said that the heads of state also discussed bilateral relations during the call as well as international issues, particularly the situations in Syria, Libya and Ukraine.
According to Russian state-owned news agency Tass, Putin spoke to Niinistö of how Moscow aims to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Tass reported that Niinistö described a prisoner swap (siirryt toiseen palveluun) between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists on Sunday as a welcome gesture.
Tass also reported that the presidents expressed satisfaction with bilateral relations, which the Kremlin said was due to “regular political dialogue” and “mutually beneficial trade cooperation”.
According to Tass, President Niinistö initiated the phone call. Niinistö and Putin last met in Helsinki in August, when the agenda included bilateral relations as well as pro-democracy protests in Moscow over local elections due in the autumn, among other issues.