Follow this path, Lavrov signals to Finland

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Finnish counterpart Timo Soini during the Barents Council meeting in Oulu, Finland.

Statement delivered by Foreign Minister Lavrov ahead of Barents meeting is bound to stir controversy in Finland 


Summing up bilateral talks ahead of today’s session in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, Sergey Lavrov refered to a proverb which is likely to make waves in the Finnish public.

”Like the son learns from his father, the neighbour learns from its neighbor”, Lavrov highlighted, adding that he had been told the proverb from Finnish friends.

The Russian minister went on saying that ”all our history, which is rich in experience exchange and mutual support, shows that exactly this line is the right one for our relations”.

”Russia will strictly follow such a line”, he stressed, a transcript published at the Russian Foreign Ministry website reads.

The statements come as Russian-Finnish relations are strained following Russian incursions in Ukraine and a quickly expanding military activity level in the Baltic region. In addition, bilateral trade is plummeting and movement of travellers across the 1300 km long border had dropped 30 percent over the last year.

According to Lavrov, the negative trends are spurred by ”artificial factors” like the EU’s introduction sanctions and the subsequent counter-sanctions from the Russian side.

The Russian foriegn minister spoke in Oulu, Finland, in connection with today’s session in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. In the meeting, Russia takes over the chair of the BEAC from Finland. The Barents Council includes the Russia, the Nordic countries and other key stakeholders in the European North.

In the same meeting, the chair of the Barents Regional Council, was taken over by Kainuu, the Finnish region, from Arkhangelsk.