Gallery: Russian president visits Helsinki

Russian president Vladimir Putin was in Helsinki Wednesday, meeting his Finnish opposite number Sauli Niinistö.

The Russian leader arrived two hours later than scheduled, at 4.30 p.m. local time. At his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump last July, Putin had arrived an hour late, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

The delay shunts the day's itinerary back; whereas the pair were scheduled to have a press conference at 4.15 p.m., this is taking place after their initial meeting at the presidential palace, followed by a joint lunch, presumably now a joint high tea, on the island of Suomenlinna just off-shore from the city center.

The Finnish president's office said that topics of discussion included bilateral relations, regional and international issues.

Finnish public broadcaster Yle said Wednesday that Niinistö was unlikely to publicly criticize Russia's human rights record, in spite of recent mass protests in Moscow and reported police brutality, adding that EU sanctions on trade between the two countries had had a minimal effect, though uncertainty arising from them and the wider political situation had greater implications.

The two leaders last met in St. Petersburg in April, in the context of the Arctic Council, which both Finland and Russia are part of. During the summit between Putin and Trump in July 2018, the latter's backup planes were parked at Tallinn Airport.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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