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Niinistö discusses Ukraine war with Putin and Zelensky

During the call, the Finnish president emphasised the need for humanitarian corridors to safely evacuate civilians.

President Sauli Niinistö at a press conference on 10 March, 2022. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Sauli Niinistö spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone on Friday, according to a statement from the president's office.

The conversation focused "exclusively on the war in Ukraine," with Niinistö reportedly highlighting the impact the conflict has had on Ukraine in terms of human suffering and the role it has played in influencing public opinion in the West.

He called for an immediate ceasefire and emphasised the need to enable safe passage for civilians seeking to escape the war zone. The president also underscored the importance of ensuring that nuclear energy facilities in Ukraine remain secure.

During the course of the hour-long call, Niinistö told Putin about a conversation he had had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier that day and reaffirmed Zelensky's willingness to discuss resolving the conflict with Putin.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Niinistö said that European leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz have stressed the importance of maintaining a dialogue with Russia.

He also pointed out the need to prevent the war in Ukraine from spreading to other parts of Europe.

However, foreign and security policy experts interviewed by Yle have suggested that Finland is unlikely to take on the role of a mediator in the conflict, which began two weeks ago.