President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to Sochi.
Russia and Finland have always had very good and business-like relations. Finnish business has made big investments in the Russian economy and I hope that Finnish investors feel at ease here in general in Russia.
There are Russian investors too. I think that our two countries are developing good relations in the shipbuilding sector, and Helsinki has received orders from Russia for another three ships to be built at the shipyards there. Russia remains one of Finland’s top economic partners in terms of the volume of trade and economic ties.
Sadly, our trade turnover has dropped slightly of late, falling by around 8 percent. This is not just the result of political difficulties, but is also linked to purely economic causes.
We are therefore especially pleased to see you and your colleagues here, Mr President, so as to have the chance to discuss the full range of our relations.
President of Finland Sauli Niinistö (retranslated): Thank you for giving me the chance to come here and visit Sochi once again. The weather is completely different now to what it was last time.
Yes, we do have traditionally good bilateral relations. We have many common affairs in economic and political areas, and of course our people on each side of the border also have very close contacts.
Of course the political events and the political climate that reigns right now do have an impact on our relations, especially our economic ties. Our relations have traditionally shown steady growth, but the picture has changed a little now.
It is true that we were still feeling the consequences of the financial crisis, but the changing political circumstances have put us in a new situation. The disaster that is taking place in Ukraine affects all of us and concerns all of us, and its impact goes far beyond just local consequences.
As a result of these events, the traditionally good relations between the European Union and Russia have suffered a blow. For this reason too, changes have taken place at the global level. Some are talking of the start of a new ‘Cold War’, or suggest that we are on the way towards a new ‘Cold War’.
It is therefore good to have this chance to discuss the possibilities we have for finding a way of settling the situation in Ukraine, stopping this negative spiral of events and helping to stabilise the situation, because this really is something that affects us all.