President Biden has consulted Sauli Niinisto throughout Russia’s war against Ukraine. Europeans should not dismiss the risks of a wider war, he says.
The president of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, is the person considered most responsible for bringing his country into the NATO alliance — and Sweden, too, which is awaiting ratification — following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. President Biden has consulted him about Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, whom Mr. Niinisto has met numerous times.
In a long interview in his light-filled modernist residence in Helsinki, Mr. Niinisto warned European leaders and citizens not to become complacent over the risks of escalation in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine will last a long time, he said, and wars can take unexpected paths, even toward the use of nuclear weapons.
The invasion, Mr. Niinisto said, was “a wake-up call” for Europe and NATO.
“Well, it was ringing loudly in February 2022,” he said. “But do you hear it anymore? That clearly? That might be a good question — whether all Europeans realize that this is a European issue.”
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