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Putin to visit Helsinki next Wednesday

The Russian president returns to the Finnish capital for the first time since his summit with Donald Trump.

Sauli Niinistö Vladimir Putin
Sauli Niinistö and Vladimir Putin last met in St Petersburg on 9 April. Image: Anatoly Maltsev / EPA

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Helsinki on 21 August, President Sauli Niinistö's office announced on Wednesday.

In a tweet from his personal account, Niinistö wrote in Finnish that he expects "interesting and useful discussions" with Putin.

During the one-day working visit, the two are to hold talks at the Presidential Palace overlooking Helsinki harbour. Putin and Niinistö are also scheduled to hold a joint press conference after their talks.

Niinistö's office has not revealed any specific details of their agenda beyond the standard "bilateral, regional and international issues".

A day earlier, before the date was named, Niinistö said that no subject would be considered off the table during upcoming negotiations with Putin.

Dinner at Suomenlinna island fortress

The two have met regularly, usually at least twice annually, since they both took office in 2012. At that point Putin resumed the presidency after four years as prime minister. Niinistö continued to meet with Putin even when many other European leaders declined to do so in response to the Ukraine crisis.

The two heads of state last met during the Russian-sponsored Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg last April. This marks Putin's first visit to Finland since his Helsinki summit with US President Donald Trump in July 2018.

After the press conference, the presidents will cross the harbour for dinner at the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. It was built by Finland's Swedish rulers in the mid-eighteenth century to defend again the Russians, who nevertheless took control of it – and the rest of Finland – in 1808.

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