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President Niinistö: Finland would back peace-keeping operation in East Ukraine

President Sauli Niinistö called the war in Ukraine Europe's biggest problem at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Tasavallan presidentti Sauli Niinistö ja Ukrainan presidentti Petro Porošenko tapaamisessa Münchenin turvallisuuskokouksen yhteydessä 17.2.2018
President Niinistö (right) pictured with Ukrainian colleague Petro Poroshenko. Image: Katri Makkonen / Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

President Sauli Niinistö says Finland must be involved should an international peace-keeping operation be organised in East Ukraine by a UN mandate.

Niinistö gave his statement on Saturday evening at the international Munich Security Conference.

"This is the largest problem now facing Europe. If there's any indication that the situation could be resolved, Finland must take part both in spirit and action," the president said.

Several representatives at the summit have put forward propositions for a resolution to the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in his speech that anti-Russian sanctions could be loosened if an operation were put into action.

Ex-Secretary General of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that peace-keepers could be gathered from non-Nato countries – and named Finland, Sweden and Austria specifically.

Niinistö replied by saying that the required 20,000 peace-keepers might be hard to amass from only a handful of countries. However, he said all attempts at a solution are welcome.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he doubts that a solution will be devised anytime soon.

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