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President Niinistö speaks with Biden, plans to call Putin

The Finnish and US presidents held a joint phone call with the Swedish PM as the two Nordic nations move toward joining Nato.

Sauli Niinistö last spoke with Vladimir Putin in March. Image: Kirill Kudryavtsev / EPA

Finland's President Sauli Niinistö spoke with his US counterpart Joe Biden on Friday. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson also took part in the joint conversation, Niinistö said in a tweet on Friday evening.

"We shared our deep concern about the Russian invasion in Ukraine. I went through Finland's next steps towards Nato membership. Finland deeply appreciates all the necessary support from the United States," he tweeted.

Earlier on Friday Niinistö said he would call Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the changed situation following Thursday's announcement that Finnish political leaders support an application to join the Nato alliance.

Niinistö revealed his plans during an interview with the Swedish news agency TT published on Friday afternoon, saying he wanted to deal with the matter directly by speaking to his Russian counterpart.

"I'm not the kind of person who just slips away around the corner. I intend to call him and state that the situation has changed, as we both know," Niinistö said.

However, he did not say specify when he intended to make the call.

Close contacts for a decade

The two heads of state last spoke by telephone in March, when Finland's president noted the effect Russia's war in Ukraine was having on public opinion in western countries.

The two leaders have maintained regular contacts over the past decade, usually meeting twice a year before the pandemic. They last met face-to-face in Moscow in October after a two-year hiatus.

Both of their presidential terms began in the spring of 2012, though Putin had held the post earlier before a stint as prime minister.

18:26: Updated with Biden-Andersson call.

This week's episode of All Points North examines Finland's next steps towards Nato membership. You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Apple Podcasts (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or wherever you get your podcasts.