PRESIDENT Sauli Niinistö placed emphasis on the need to achieve an immediate ceasefire and guarantee the safe evacuation of civilians through humanitarian corridors during his phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
The hour-long conversation focused exclusively on the war in Ukraine, according to a press release from the Office of the President of Finland.
Niinistö estimated that the catastrophe and profound human suffering inflicted by the war was exacerbating as the war entered into its third week, pointing out that this is affecting opinions in the West. He also called attention to the safety of nuclear power plants in Ukraine.
Russian forces have shelled and seized control of two nuclear facilities during their invasion of Ukraine, sparking concerns at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Russia has similarly undermined attempts to evacuate civilians through humanitarian corridors by neglecting to respect them or imposing cynical conditions on them, namely that they lead to either Russia or Belarus.
The World Health Organisation on Monday said some 18 million people have been impacted by the war in Ukraine, with 6.7 million internally displaced and almost 3 million fleeing the country.
Niinistö also told Putin about his earlier conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, relaying the willingness of Zelensky to engage in direct talks with Putin.
Also the Kremlin has put out a press release about the phone conversation between Niinistö and Putin. The Russian president, it indicates, clarified in detail the reasons and objectives of the self-styled special military operation he initiated to “defend” Donbass and briefed his counterpart on the ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine.
The Kremlin stated that the heads of state paid particular attention to humanitarian questions, measures to guarantee the safety of civilians and issues linked to the setup of humanitarian corridors.
Finland and Russia, the press release indicates, will continue to engage in discussions about the war in Ukraine.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT