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."