Russian and Finnish presidents discuss the Arctic
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto discussed the Arctic environment and Russia's participation in an Arctic summit during their talks in Sochi. Addressing a news conference, Sauli Niinisto confirmed that Finland would prioritize the environment during its chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
"We talked about environmental issues in many dimensions. First, we agreed that the Finnish chairmanship of the Arctic Council would give pride of place to environmental issues, among other things," Niinisto said.
He added that Finland had outlined concrete issues to work on.
"This concerns black carbon, or soot, and the use of liquefied natural gas as fuel for ships. I would like to thank Russia for its support in this matter. As far as I understand, both of us are ready to attend an Arctic summit, if it takes place," he added.
According to President Niinisto, measures are already being taken as part of the effort to fight soot.
"For example, thermal power stations in the Kola Peninsula have been switching to fuel that is less environmentally harmful," he said, adding that another relevant issue was the likely transition of Arctic shipping from fuel oil to LNG.
The Russian president considered that it was also important to discuss the rules of business activity, including on major projects, security, and wildlife preservation.
"It is necessary to discuss the security of shipping in these latitudes and rescue operations, including in the event of unfavorable environmental conditions. It would be quite useful to discuss chances for joint work to preserve wildlife and the animal kingdom, given that many animals in the Arctic are facing a difficult situation. For example, polar bears are in danger because of ice melting," Putin said.