Finnish President Saule Niinistö criticized the statement of French counterpart Emmanuel Macron about the need to talk to Russia about “security guarantees” for it.
Niinistö expressed his opinion in a comment to the Iltalehti newspaper on the sidelines of the meeting of the leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) in Riga on December 19.
“Well, who needs security here? Russia’s neighbors. If Russia can provide some security guarantees to its neighbors, why not provide it with no less reliable security guarantees of the same level? As reliable as those they give,” he said.
A similar opinion was expressed by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, who argues that it is Russia that should provide security guarantees to Ukraine and not vice versa.
“We need to discuss security guarantees for us and, above all, for our Ukrainian friends. They are under daily shelling. People are dying. Now we are talking about a country (Russia) that cares little about any system based on rules,” Nauseda said.
And Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stressed that no country would attack Russia: “Russia’s security concerns are not real. On the contrary, concerns about the security of Ukraine and Europe as a whole are real.”
In early December, French President Emmanuel Macron said on television that the West should consider meeting Russia’s need for security guarantees if Putin agrees to negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine.
This statement was criticized both in Ukraine and in several European capitals. The Polish Foreign Ministry said that if anyone needs security guarantees, it is Ukraine and the states of Central and Eastern Europe. Helsinki also stated that in the current circumstances, guarantees against Russia are required, not for Russia.
The Estonian Prime Minister noted that starting peace talks with Russia prematurely is dangerous, not only for Ukraine.
Macron said after the criticism that his words were given exaggerated importance.