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NATO Rejected Proposal by Finnish President on Baltic Overflights, Putin Reveals

Oct. 30, 2016 (EIRNS)—During the open discussion following the panel discussion at the Valdai Club, Russian President Vladimir Putin set the record straight after co-panelist, former President of Finland Tarja Halonen, raised the question of Russian flights over the Baltic.

Putin identified that what NATO had reported as their rejection of "Putin’s proposal," was actually NATO’s rejection of a proposal that he was transmitting from the Finnish President.

"Regarding what Tarja said on the subject of security in the Baltic Sea area, I remind you that this matter came up not on our initiative but during my visit to Naantali in Finland, and on the initiative of Mr. [Sauli] Niinisto, the president of Finland. Quite out of the blue, he requested that Russian aircraft do not fly with their transponders off. For those not familiar with military matters, I note that transponders are instruments that signal an aircrafts location in the air. Of course, if aircraft fly with their transponders on, this increases security in the Baltic Sea region. This is the truth of the matter. I responded immediately then, noting firstly that there are far more flights by NATO aircraft in the region than by our aircraft.

"Secondly, I promised the Finnish President that we would definitely raise this issue with our partners at the next Russia-NATO Council meeting. I can tell you that we did this. The result was that our NATO partners rejected Putin’s proposal, as they said. But this has nothing to do with Putin. They rejected the proposal made by Mr. Niinisto, the president of Finland...."

Putin added that there were complicated military dimensions, and the Russian

"Defense Ministry found a solution, but our NATO colleagues rejected it. So please, direct your questions to the NATO headquarters in Brussels."

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