US President Joe Biden in Helsinki for top-level summit with Nordic leaders

President Joe Biden disembarking from Air Force One on the tarmac at Helsinki Airport, Wednesday, July 12, 2023.
President Joe Biden disembarking from Air Force One on the tarmac at Helsinki Airport, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. Source: Yle/Tiina Jutila

President of the United States Joe Biden arrived in Helsinki Wednesday evening, the last stage of a European visit this week which took in the Vilnius NATO summit, public broadcaster Yle reports.

President Biden will meet Sauli Niinistö, Finland's head of state, as well as various Nordic leaders while in the Finnish capital.

Yle reports on its English-language page that this summit will include prime ministers of the Nordic nations, Finland's own head of government, Petteri Orpo (NCP), only installed last month, will not be present – officially because the Finnish prime minister's role is focused on domestic matters.

Biden arrived at Helsinki Airport, Vantaa, just after 10 p.m.on Wednesday, direct from the Vilnius summit – Finland's first as a NATO member state.

Tight security saw several streets surrounding the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, the venue for Thursday's meeting, cordoned-off, as well as a zone around Helsinki harbor being restricted and/or wholly off-limits to the public, during the visit.

Eagle-eyed passengers on a cruise ship Wednesday spotted a submarine off the coast of the Finnish capital, later identified as a Russian vessel, Delfi reports (link in Estonian) – police and birder guard on both sides of the Gulf of Finland say there is nothing unusual in this.

The last time a U.S. President made an official visit to Helsinki, almost five years ago to the day, things were very different. That time, then-President Donald Trump held a meeting, before the media, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Putin visited the Finnish capital for an official meeting with Sauli Niinistö in autumn the following year, 2019.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Yle, Delfi

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