Putin says he’s ready to meet Trump at an Arctic summit in Finland

By Reuters - March 30, 2017

ARKHANGELSK, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he was ready to meet U.S. president Donald Trump at an Arctic summit in Finland.

Russian president made this remark responding to his Finnish counterpart, President Sauli Niinisto, who said he would be happy to receive Russian and U.S. presidents in Finland.

“Finland proposes the convening of an Arctic Summit to discuss a wide range of issues pertaining to the region and beyond,” Niinisto said, according to a prepared version of his remarks. “This would provide an opportunity to ensure that the Arctic indeed remains a territory of dialogue. It is our common responsibility to see that this promise and tradition is upheld in the North.”

Niinisto repeated the offer in a panel moderated by CNBC Europe’s Geoff Cutmore, to which Putin responded that he would be willing to meet at such an event.

“Finland, I believe, would be quite an appropriate country,” Putin said.

Finland is set to assume the rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council, currently held by the United States, at a ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska in May.

As the Independent Barents Observer points out, the idea that Finland might host a summit for the heads of state of Arctic nations during its 2017-2019 chairmanship is not a new one. A similar proposal was suggested in 2013, before being shelved as tensions between Russia and the West grew after the annexation of Crimea.

The exchange came during an international Arctic forum hosted by Russia in Arkhangelsk.

Putin also said at the Thursday forum that anti-Russian sanctions were harmful both for the economies of the United States and Europe.

Reporting by Oxana Kobzeva.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.