Timo Soini (BR), the Minister for Foreign Affairs, has denied claims that Finland wants Russia to participate in the operations of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Helsinki.
The claims were made by his counterpart from Russia, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on Tuesday, according to YLE.
Soini confirmed to the public broadcasting company that the centre of excellence was discussed during his meeting with Lavrov in mid-October but stressed that it was Lavrov who revealed that Russia would be interested in co-operating with the newly opened centre of excellence.
“I didn’t comment on the issue,” he said in a written response to YLE.
Lavrov delivered a speech at a meeting of the Association of European Businesses in Russia in Moscow on Tuesday, accusing both the United States and “a small group” of European countries of Russo-phobia. The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, he said, is one example the anti-Russian entities created recently to counteract the “evidence-free” danger coming from Moscow.
“I asked [Soini] what the centre will actually be doing,” he stated according to a transcript of his remarks found on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“He said that, probably, it will engage in studying all the hybrid threats that there are, and that he would be glad if Russia joined this centre. It was mentioned during a conversation, but nobody invited us there officially. If they do, it will probably be an interesting project to join.”
The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats was officially opened in Helsinki in September.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi