"WESTERN COUNTRIES are at the gates of a new cold war with Russia, sparked by the Ukraine crisis and a continuing failure to grasp the depth and seriousness of Vladimir Putin's grievances with the US and EU, the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, has warned.
Speaking to the Guardian at his official residence before Thursday's conference in Helsinki attended by the UK prime minister, David Cameron, and Nordic and Baltic state leaders, Niinistö said Finland had a long tradition of trying to maintain friendly relations with Russia. But it would not be pushed around.
'The Finnish way of dealing with Russia, whatever the situation, is that we will be very decisive to show what we don't like, where the red line is. And that is what we are prepared to do,' Niinistö said, referring to recent violations of Finnish airspace by Russian military aircraft.
'We put the Hornets [US-made Finnish air force F-18 fighter aircraft] up there and the Hornets were flying alongside the Russian planes... The Russians turned back. If they had not, what would we have done? I would not speculate.'
Cameron [joined] eight Nordic and Baltic leaders at the one-day Northern Future Forum hosted by Alexander Stubb, Finland's prime minister. Sources said they [discussed] a response to Moscow's official recognition of 'illegitimate' weekend elections at the weekend that were won by pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, at a private dinner at Stubb's residence at Kesäranta.
Cameron [was told] that Britain is seen as an essential player in formulating Europe's policy towards Russia and that the Ukraine crisis shows how the EU is much stronger when its members work together..."
THE GUARDIAN 5 November.
LEHTIKUVA / Martti Kainulainen