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Increased flight activity over Baltic Sea worrying: PM | national | Finland Times

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Monday, 21 August, 2017
Home NATIONALIncreased flight activity over Baltic Sea worrying: PM
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Mon, 15 Dec, 2014 01:17:54 AM
Stubb dismisses separate approach to Russia
FTimes - STT - Xinhua Report, Dec. 15
 
Prime Minister Alexander Stubb was speaking in an interview with Yle on Sunday. Photo Lehtikuva.
Prime Minister Alexander Stubb on Sunday said increased Russian flights and activity over the Baltic Sea is an indication that the situation is very tense.
 
In the Prime Minister’s Interview hour with the national broadcaster YLE, the premier described the overall situation as worrying.
 
Stubb said the country is not faced with a direct foreign policy threat. However, according to Stubb, in view of the increased Russian over-flights and in spite of the current flight activities at the moment being limited to the Baltic Sea, the situation can be said to be very tense.
 
The premier said the situation is way much tense than it had been for a long time.
 
Furthermore, Stubb also commented on the safety of air traffic due to risky encounters of Russian military planes and civilian aircraft.
 
The prime minister said all the flight activities should be safe and comply with the international rules of the game. 
 
According to the premier, this also applies to the Russian transport aircraft such as between the Russian airspace and Kaliningrad.
 
News Agency Xinhua adds: Differing views in Finland on the country’s relationship with neighbouring Russia were in focus again on Sunday as Prime Minister Alexander Stubb accused the opposition Centre Party of trying to push Finland back into “the gray zone”.
 
Centrist politicians responded saying that they were backing the Finnish foreign policy based on being non-aligned and agreed under Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
 
Stubb said in an interview with the national radio that “certain circles” in Finland had tried during the summer to disengage Finland from the EU sanctions policies and mentioned some Centre Party politicians.
 
Stubb said Centre Party politicians sent a wrong message both to the Finns and to what Stubb described as “our western allies and companions”.
 
One of the centrists mentioned, MP Paula Lehtomaki, said she disagreed with the view that EU policies and EU sanctions are the only instrument for Finland to deal with Russia.
 
“It should be no surprise to anyone at the EU that Finland shares a 1,300km border with Russia, and that matters related to being a neighbour are handled also bilaterally.”
 
In a joint statement, Lehtomaki and former centrist defence minister Seppo Kaarinen said Finnish security policy was based on being non-aligned.
 
Lehtomaki is the chairman of the Finland-Russia Friendship Association.
 
In the radio interview, Stubb also expressed concern about flight safety over the Baltic Sea. He said even though recent Russian flights have been within the normal military flight operations connecting Kaliningrad and Russia, they have to be carried out safely.
 
Finnish officials claimed on Friday that Russian aircraft had been flying without radar transponders on and visible to military radar only.
 
In recent interviews President Sauli Niinistö has underlined the importance of the relationship between Finland and Russia. 
 
 
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