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Finland's President-Elect Says No Political Ties With Russia Until Ukraine War Ends

Finnish President-elect Alexander Stubb. Sergei Grits / AP / TASS

Finland's President-elect Alexander Stubb said Monday his country will not maintain high-level ties with Russia until the Kremlin ends its war in Ukraine. 

Relations between Moscow and Helsinki have sharply deteriorated since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, prompting Finland to drop decades of military non-alignment and join NATO.

“We do not have a political relationship right now with Russia,” Stubb said, adding that “practical” Russian-Finnish relations, such as contact between diplomats and border services, remained. 

“I don’t see that improving in the near future, the reason being that we cannot have a relationship until Russia stops its war,” Stubb added during a press conference broadcast by the national TV channel Yle.

Stubb, who was elected to be Finland's next president following a second round of voting on Sunday, will assume office on March 1.

The Kremlin said earlier Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not plan to congratulate Stubb on his election victory since Finland is among those countries Moscow considers “unfriendly.”

When asked about the Finnish government’s policy toward Russia, Stubb told reporters: “In very simple terms, we stick with Ukraine, we stick with the European Union and, of course, NATO.” 

Russia, which shares a 1,340-kilometer border with Finland, swiftly warned of “countermeasures” after Helsinki joined NATO in April 2023.

Finland closed its border with Russia late last year, accusing Moscow of orchestrating an influx of asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East.

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