Vladimir Putin and Sauli Niinisto gave a joint news conference following bilateral talks.
July 27, 2017 00000000
Indeed, our goal is to move forward in resolving this issue.
President of Finland Sauli Niinisto (retranslated): Welcome! I am sorry for keeping you waiting, but we had a lot of interesting topics to discuss.
This year, Finland celebrates the 100th anniversary of its independence, and we very much appreciate the fact that President Putin came here and will join us in celebrating this event. At the same time, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of relations between our countries.
Once again, welcome. We very much appreciate your presence here.
Currently, as befits good neighbours, we have extensive bilateral relations and ties. We are also witnessing some new life, an upswing in relations, as things are looking up in the economic sphere in both countries. There are more tourists going to both countries, and bilateral trade has picked up significantly.
We also have common goals that we are striving to achieve. Notable is the toxic waste disposal site, Krasny Bor, near St Petersburg. We discussed this issue last year. We made some progress, and samples were taken at this site. Indeed, our goal is to move forward in resolving this issue.
We also talked about the projects that were implemented in the Baltic Sea region. We mentioned the sewage treatment plants that were put into operation in Kaliningrad, and this also serves as a reminder about the Northern Dimension initiative, which has come to a standstill due to sanctions, but I believe that, nonetheless, we should not forget about it and keep it alive, at least in our thoughts, because Northern Dimension allowed us to achieve a lot of good things. We can mention the treatment facilities in St Petersburg, and now the treatment facilities in Kaliningrad, too.
We also talked about the security situation in the Baltic Sea region. We are planning major military exercises, West-2017 and Aurora. We are also keeping an eye on a certain intensification in the movement of military aircraft, ships, troops. In order for us to avoid negative consequences, situations that no one wants, we need to maintain dialogue.
I would also like for people here in Finland to see that not all is as bad as it seems and that progress has been made.
I also want to recall the interview that NATO Secretary General Mr Stoltenberg gave. He described the recent NATO-Russia Council meeting as constructive.
The need for this kind of ongoing dialogue is also clear from the discussions taking place in the working group at ICAO, in which the Russian Federation is represented, as well as the other Baltic Sea countries and NATO. Working in this format, we have reached agreement on best practice regarding aviation and flight safety. Discussion and examination of the issues related to turning on transponders during flights continue there, and in a positive spirit, as far as we know.
We also discussed matters related to Finland’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Our country has only just taken up its functions as chair. President Putin showed great understanding with regard to the idea I put forward, the idea that Finland would make a proposal that would be very difficult to reject. This proposal is about fighting black soot pollution. This pollution is caused by aging energy production facilities, power stations, and flaring associated gas. Fighting black soot pollution does not impair anyone’s economic interests.
We also discussed the situation in Ukraine, in which we see no improvement. The most urgent task would be to agree on a truce. It is possible and essential to move forward, even if with only small steps. Such steps could include an exchange of persons in custody, for example. It would be possible to begin with these kinds of small steps.
Our talks were very substantive and interesting. We did not even manage to discuss everything. We have not yet discussed Syria, for example, or disarmament, which is another issue I very much hoped to discuss. But during the boat trip we will have a chance to talk about these and other matters, and I think there will be some time for us to talk in the evening, too.
Thank you very much for an interesting discussion.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
I want to start by thanking Mr Niinisto for the invitation, all the more so in this year when Finland is marking the 100th anniversary of its independence. In this connection, we have a big programme of joint cultural events.
As for our talks, they took place in the constructive and friendly atmosphere, traditional for our contacts. This was our second meeting this year. We also visited each other in 2016. I am sure that this political dialogue is most certainly a positive factor for stimulating development of our bilateral ties.
Mr Niinisto already mentioned that this year also marks the 25th anniversary of the treaty on the foundations of relations between Russia and Finland.
Today, we took a detailed look at the full spectrum of bilateral cooperation matters. We noted that our bilateral trade has picked up and posted an increase of close to 51 percent for the January-May period. Our common task is to support and do all we can to keep this pace going and preserve this trend. Our Intergovernmental Commission and Business Council are working on this.
I note the consistently high reciprocal interest of our countries’ business communities. Investment cooperation continues to develop. Russia’s direct investment in Finland came close to $3 billion in 2016, and Finland’s investment in Russia came to nearly $4 billion, even more if investment made via Finnish companies’ subsidiaries in other countries is counted.
We are carrying out a number of big projects, particularly in the energy sector. They include the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power station. Preparatory work is fully underway at the site, equipment is being delivered, and the first tranche of our loan, about one billion euros, has been transferred. Let me remind you that the total amount of financing is five billion euros. Half of this will be financed from Russian government resources and half by Rosatom.
We are also working on renewable energy sources. The company Fortum, for example, and our Rusnano are establishing a fund with more than $500 million to develop wind energy.
Companies such as Valio and Nokian Tyres continue to develop their business activities. Our company Biokad plans to organise production of chemical and biological products in Turku. Yandex is launching a data storage centre in Finland’s Uusimaa region, and there are other interesting projects too.
During the talks we noted the efficient work of the environmental agencies of both countries. Mr Niinisto has already mentioned our joint work on hazardous waste at the Krasny Bor dump site near St Petersburg. We have just started this work. The renovation of Kaliningrad’s water supply system has been completed. This is a very serious, large step in ensuring environmental safety in the Baltic area in general. We intend to continue expanding our bilateral cooperation in environmental protection.
We highly value that our Finnish partners strive to conduct an independent and balanced foreign policy and consider it to be a major factor of stability in the north of Europe. Naturally, we are ready to continue dialogue with Finland and all interested states on enhancing security in the region.
We still have to discuss the settlement process in Syria. I promised to inform my colleague in detail about it but right now I can say that in our view the main task is to stop the bloodshed once and for all and ensure the necessary conditions for a peaceful political settlement. Then the Syrians should decide, in a broad-based dialogue under the aegis of the UN and on the basis of Security Council Resolution 2254, what kind of country they want to live in.
I shared with the President the particulars of developments related to Ukraine’s domestic crisis.
We continued our exchange of views on the issues I discussed with Mr Niinisto at the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue forum in Arkhangelsk on March 30. We agreed to build up our cooperation in the region, in particular, considering Finland’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. I listened with interest to the President’s ideas on potential ecological cooperation in the Arctic. Needless to say, we can certainly do much in this area if we combine our efforts.
I would like to thank our hosts for their hospitality and cordial reception. I would also like to thank Finnish citizens who met us on our way to this hotel for their friendly and warm attitude. They greeted me with friendly waves. I cannot wave back to each of them but I want to say hello to them through the Finnish media.
Question from Yle (retranslated):My question concerns the military exercises conducted jointly by China and Russia in the Baltic Sea. I would like to ask President Putin: What message are China and Russia sending to others, what message do they want to send to other countries located in the Baltic Sea region?
My second question is for President Niinisto: What does Finland think about this? What thoughts come to mind?
Vladimir Putin: With regard to Russia-China interaction, it is a full-scale and very broad strategic partnership that includes economy, politics, military-technical cooperation, and purely military affairs. We have been regularly conducting military exercises for many years now, and participating in what is called war games and contests for many years now. To reiterate, we do so both on land and at sea.
The cooperation of Russia and the People's Republic of China in its entirety, including the military component, is a critical element of international security and stability. It is not directed against any third country. We are not creating military blocs or military alliances. In this case, our militaries are simply honing their skills, interacting, and this again sets a good example for cooperation in any region of the world, including the Baltics. We respect the neutral status of certain states of the Baltic region. However, we are ready for any form of interaction with the neutral states as well.
We decided to revive the Main Naval Parade, which will be held in St Petersburg soon. Make no mistake, it is not about brandishing arms, but reviving traditions that are more than 100 years old. In fact, such a parade was held earlier, perhaps on a slightly smaller scale, on Russian Navy Day. We invite everyone to come to St Petersburg and enjoy the show. We are ready to invite our partners and countries of the region to participate in this event, and are ready to make it happen as a collaborative effort. Thank you.
Sauli Niinisto: As far as I understand, and as President Putin mentioned, indeed, this is not the first time such exercises are conducted jointly by Chinese and Russian naval forces, or joint military exercises in general. The Chinese Navy was also in the Mediterranean, and now they are here in the Baltic Sea. Also, as far as I understand, in order to maintain combat readiness and military skills, it is important to conduct exercises in various conditions. Conducting these exercises here in the Baltic Sea does not imply that they are intended precisely for these conditions, it is just that it is important to conduct such exercises in variety of conditions.
Importantly, Finland also conducts such exercises, and takes part in the exercises that take place here in the Baltic region. We will be taking part in major exercises named Aurora off the coast of Sweden. Of course, the Swedish forces will be the main participant, but other states, including the United States, will also take part. The purpose of the Aurora exercises is also not about brandishing arms or forming any blocs against someone, either. But as long as we live in a world with armies and military forces, we must bear in mind that such exercises will be conducted no matter what.
Pavel Minakov, Interfax: A question for both presidents.
At present we are noticing modest but positive dynamics in the development of bilateral trade, as noted at the news conference. At the same time it is difficult not to see that new and quite serious political risks are being added to the continuing economic risks. This, in turn, is exerting pressure on economic factors. Do you have apprehensions that the modest positive dynamics are threatened by the current situation in the world?
Vladimir Putin: We live in a complicated, contradictory and very fragile world. The task of the people who do the work we were called upon to do is to avoid these risks, curb and minimise them, and to work on areas and ways of cooperation that would lead us to development, to the consolidation of international relations, the economy and improved living standards for our citizens. This is what our meeting today was about. As for the future, we will have to wait and see. We will respond to emerging problems.
Sauli Niinisto: Yes, indeed, it is just as you said. There are risks and threatening factors in this world, for instance climate change. We discussed this issue when we reviewed our agenda in the context of our chairmanship of the Arctic Council. In addition, we have rampant migration and these flows are probably partially determined by the first factor mentioned – climate change – and may grow in the future as a result. And, thirdly, there are wars – armed clashes and conflicts that are heating up in many places in this world.
We need an open spirit of global cooperation on all of these issues. I believe in dialogue, and I believe it is possible to find solutions via dialogue.
Matthew Chance, CNN: First, I have a question for President Putin. President Putin, with these US congressional investigations – and they are thoroughly underway – into allegations of Russian meddling in the US election, and with the possibility of US sanctions being tightened shortly, do you sometimes sit in your office in the Kremlin thinking about how badly US-Russian relations are going and regretting the day that Donald Trump was elected?
Vladimir Putin: First, as for the election of the President of the United States, this is not our business, and it is not up to us to assess Mr Trump’s performance in his very high office. This is up to the American people. And the second point.
Remark by CNN: We also have a question to the Finnish President.
Vladimir Putin:Wait a second, I have something else to say.
Remark by CNN: Sorry.
Vladimir Putin:I was just waiting for the English translation.
As regards the investigations you have mentioned, I do not think it is an investigation, because an investigation would imply considering all the circumstances, examining the causes and hearing from different parties. What we are seeing is merely growing anti-Russian hysteria. Most likely, Russophobic tools are being used for domestic political purposes, in this case the fight between President Trump and his political opponents in the United States.
It is a great pity that Russian-US relations are sacrificed in the course of resolving internal US political issues.
Answering your question on whether I regret the worsening of Russian-US relations, I can answer directly: of course we regret this. It is a shame, because if we worked together, we could resolve the pressing issues that concern both Russia and the United States much more efficiently. I am speaking of solving acute international crises, tackling terrorism, nature conservation, resolving environmental problems, handling illegal migration, fighting organised crime and so on, and contributing to economic development ultimately. But we know we have many friends in the United States, and there are many sober-minded people. I hope that someday the current state of affairs will come to an end and we will move on to a qualitatively different kind of relationship, which we will strengthen and boost in the interests of the people of the United States and the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin answered the students’ questions
and reviewed some of their projects.
The President was shown, among other things,
a device for laboratory blood testing, the so-called Lab
of the Future, which, according to its inventors, can replace
a number of tests with just one. Vladimir Putin also saw
a wireless charging device for drones used to inspect power lines.
Also, young scientists showed the President a technology they are
proposing for computer processing of x-ray images,
and the Moon Greenhouse project which studied possibilities
for growing plants in the moon’s gravity.
The Sirius Educational Centre was established
on the basis of the Olympic infrastructure
at the President’s initiative in December 2014. The aim
of the centre was to reveal talent early, and develop
and support gifted children from all Russian regions. These are children
who display exceptional abilities in the arts, sports,
the natural sciences or who have achieved success in technical
Every month 600 children aged from 10 to 17
receive tuition-free education at the centre. They are guided
by over 100 teachers and coaches. The 24-day programme includes
studies on a specialty, intellectual games, workshops, meetings with
recognised professionals in their area of knowledge, sets
of health-building programmes, and general education classes during
the school year.
* * *
Beginning of the conversation with
the Sirius Centre students
President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon friends,
Your session and the academic year are
coming to a close. So let’s say our meeting is timed to these.
But for the beginning of our meeting,
and I hope it will be interesting to everyone, I would like
to return to where we started and say how this project –
Sirius – came about.
You know that all countries that host major
international competitions like the Olympic Games, always face
a challenging question – what to do with the buildings
and facilities, all that infrastructure that was built for these
major international competitions. We, Russia and the city
of Sochi, also faced this question. We had various plans for them;
and we built a lot. In fact, Sochi has changed its image
a lot and become a major international resort destination.
But I really wanted that project to be
expanded with something that would truly be worthy of the Olympic
legacy. This is how the initial idea came to create sport centres
here – but for popular sports for which we, as they say
today, have the greatest aptitude. These are primarily winter sports
because we hosted the Winter Games and there were plenty
of artificial ice arenas. First of all, I thought about ice
hockey and figure skating.
Then it occurred to me: Why just sports? Why
just sports for which we have developed an aptitude over decades? We
have other abilities – for example, in science, education
and the arts. We have always been proud of our musicians
and our ballet, and the world admires them. Then
I remembered that we also have specialised educational institutions that
were established back in the Soviet times and still exist. These
are not only ten-year schools for future conservatory students but also
physics and mathematics schools, chemistry schools, and biology
courses that opened later.
President of Russia
Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
me to skip any statements and monologues. You have seen
and heard everything, a great deal. Let us get straight
Question: Mr President, both
experts and ordinary people, some of whom are rampaging near this
building now, are known to have different opinions
on the usefulness of G20 summits. At this summit,
for example, there was more talk about your meeting with Mr Trump.
And yet which of the issues discussed by the G20 is
most relevant for Russia? Thank you.
G20 is primarily an economic forum, even though many political
and similar issues emerge. Nevertheless, the main issue is
the development of the global economy, and this is what
received the greatest attention.
agreed on determining global economy sustainability principles,
and this is vitally important for working along the same
we continued with the issue which in fact had been launched
in St Petersburg: money laundering and everything connected with tax
havens and tax evasion. It is a crucial matter with practical
no less important and also connected with the economy, a related
but very important issue – the fight against terror, tracking money
flows to prevent the funding of terrorism.
a very big and very sensitive issue is climate change. I think
in this respect the Federal Republic of Germany chairing
the G20 has managed to reach the best compromise
in a difficult situation the chairing nation has found itself
in, namely due to the US quitting the Paris Climate Agreement.
An agreement was reached, a compromise, when all the countries
have recorded that the United States pulled out of the agreement
but they are ready to continue cooperating in certain areas
and with certain countries on addressing climate change challenges.
I think this is a positive result in itself, which can be
credited to Chancellor Merkel.
are other issues we looked into. For example, digital economy. Here we
proposed adopting common rules in the area of digital economy,
defining cyber security and designing a comprehensive system
of behaviour rules in this sphere.
A meeting between
Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump is taking place
on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
July 7, 2017
4 of 9
With US President Donald
of the United States of America Donald Trump: Thank you
very much. We appreciate it.
and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s
going very well. We’ve had some very, very good talks. We’re going to have
a talk now, and obviously that will continue. But we look forward
to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia,
for the United States, and for everybody concerned.
And it’s an honour to be with you. Thank you.
President of Russia
Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
We have talked
on the phone about vital bilateral and international issues
several times but, of course, telephone conversations are not enough.
If we want to find
positive solutions to bilateral issues and the most important
and urgent international problems, such meetings in person are essential.
I am very happy
to meet you, Mr President. I hope, as you have said, that our
meeting will produce positive results.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding talks with
his American counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of G20 Summit in
Hamburg, Germany, on Friday. The meeting marks the first time that the two
leaders talk in person since Trump's inauguration in January.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President
Donald Trump are holding their historic first ever meeting on Friday
on the G20 sidelines, discussing crises in Syria and Ukraine
as well as joint anti-terrorism efforts, among other pressing
issues on the bilateral agenda.
Expectations from the first official meeting
between the two presidents have been very high, with Moscow stating
the two leader’s working dialogue was "likely vital for the whole
The meeting is being held in an extended format,
with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the US Secretary of State Rex Tillersonpresent.
Addressing reporters, Trump said that he has been
discussing "various things" with Putin, without specifying
"Putin and I have been discussing various things,
and I think it's going very well," Trump told reporters. "We've
had some very, very good talks. We're going to have a talk now and
obviously, that will continue. We look forward to a lot of very
positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and
for everybody concerned. And it's an honor to be with you."
In his turn, Putin said that he was delighted
to meet his American counterpart.
"I'm delighted to meet you personally, and I
hope our meeting will bring results," Putin said after shaking hands
Putin noted that he would like to discuss
bilateral relations and issues on the international agenda.
Early on Friday, the G20 summit kicked off in the German port city
of Hamburg, bringing together the leaders of major world countries
and developing economies.
Addressing Trump, Putin then said that although the
two of them have “several times talked over the phone, including on some
very important bilateral and international issues,” phone talks were “obviously
Meetings in person are “necessary” if the two
countries want to resolve the “most pressing issues,” Putin added.