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Putin, Finland's president to talk bilateral ties, international issues

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to meet on Tuesday with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto who is scheduled to arrive in Russia on a working visit, the Kremlin press service has said.

"The talks at the highest level will discuss a broad range of issues of bilateral cooperation in the trade and economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian spheres," the statement said.

Ukraine may be among the issues that the presidents of Russia and Finland will discuss at their talks in Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

"Of course we don't rule out that a certain exchange of opinions on how the settlement proceeds in Ukraine will also be on the agenda," he said, adding that Putin and Niinisto also planned to discuss other international issues.

Niinisto earlier voiced full support for the February 12 Minsk agreements brokered after the 16-hour marathon talks between the leaders of the Normandy Quartet countries - Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.

Along with an end to combat operations, the Finnish president stressed the importance of having a constitutional reform and determining the status of Ukraine's southeastern regions.

The working visit of the Finnish president to Moscow comes at the invitation of the Russian leader. This will be the sixth meeting of the two presidents, the Kremlin press service said.

Finland is one of the major trade and economic partners of Russia in the European Union, Peskov said. "'Synchronizing watches' in conditions of sanctions and a certain decline in trade is of course seen as extremely important," Putin's spokesman said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 16Jun15]

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