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Russian, Finnish Presidents Unhappy With Trade Decline

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on March 22.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said no one is happy with the decline in trade between Russia and Finland after a meeting with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto in Moscow on March 22.

Putin said the decline in bilateral trade and economic relations has several causes, including the sanctions imposed by the EU and Russia against each other as well as an "overall decline in economic activity in the world and in Europe."

The decline in trade in the past two years was so great that Russia is no longer Finland's top trading partner.

Putin pointed out that despite the slump in trade, Russia still supplies "nearly 100 percent" of Finland's natural gas supplies and "80 percent of all oil consumed in Finland."

Niinisto, who extended an invitation for Putin to visit Finland, added that greater cooperation was needed on migrant flows from Russia to Finland and said agreements were made to put new restrictions on citizens from third countries at two border checkpoints.

The two leaders have met several times and the Kremlin said Putin and Niinisto regularly speak by phone.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax