Biden Speaks With Finland's President About Allaying Tension at Ukrainian Border

President Joe Biden spoke on the phone Monday with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö regarding their shared concern over the increasing Russian militarization along the Ukrainian border.

Biden and Niinistö spoke about efforts that both nations could make to confront "Russia's destabilizing military buildup along Ukraine's border," according to a readout of the call provided by the White House.

The pair also discussed "the importance of transatlantic efforts to de-escalate the situation," the White House continued.

An accompanying readout of the call by the Finnish government stated that "the main topic of the conversation was the worrisome situation at the borders of Ukraine. The presidents considered it important to cooperate in order to find a diplomatic resolution to the tense situation."

"President Niinistö told President Biden about the main pillars of Finnish security policy ... In addition, President Niinistö opened his thinking on the Helsinki Spirit to President Biden," the Finnish government continued.

Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, and the two countries maintain a close relationship. The United States has often attempted to use Finland as an intermediary while conducting diplomacy with Russia.

The Finnish capital of Helsinki previously hosted a bilateral summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and former President Donald Trump in 2018. Additionally, President Niinistö offered up Helsinki once again for the first meeting between Biden and Putin in April, although that summit eventually took place in Geneva, Switzerland.

U.S. Finland Flags
President Joe Biden spoke with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on Monday regarding Russia's increasing militarization along the Ukrainian border, despite assurances by the Kremlin that Russia is not planning an invasion. Here, the flags of the United States and Finland flap in the breeze. iStock/Getty

Even as diplomatic relations continue, Russia continues to ramp up what appears to be preparations for a Ukrainian invasion, although the Kremlin has continually denied that this is the case.

Biden previously told reporters that a U.S. military presence in Ukraine would not occur even if Russia did invade, saying that that option was "not on the table." However, he did add that he would help Ukraine "defend its sovereign territory."

Given the territorial closeness between Finland and Russia, Niinistö also appears to be continuing efforts to lower the temperature along the Ukrainian border. Niinistö, like Biden, has reiterated his support for Ukrainian sovereignty and has reportedly spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in regards to options of de-escalation.

Niinistö is also slated to have a phone call with Putin on Tuesday, according to the Finnish readout.

While neither the United States nor Finland seems eager to take military action against Russia, Biden also praised Finland's selection of the F-35 to be the next fighter jet of the Finnish Air Force.

Biden expressed his hope to Niinistö that the "procurement [of F-35s] would provide a strong foundation for even closer bilateral defense ties for years to come."

The sale of the planes marks the latest chapter in a continuing military relationship between the United States and Finland.

In 2016, the two countries signed a bilateral defense pact that pledged cooperation in shipbuilding, nuclear defense and developing technologies for the Arctic, an area of increasing interest for both nations," according to the Military Times.

The Times noted that the two countries also worked together on numerous naval, air, and land exercises.

Similar military pacts have also been struck between the United States and Finland's Nordic neighbor, Sweden.

Newsweek has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Finland for comment.