US, Russian military leaders meet in Finland for talks

US, Russian military leaders meet in Finland for talks
The Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The top U.S. military chief met Friday in Finland with his Russian counterpart to exchange views on U.S.-Russia military relations, Syria and the international security situation.

Finnish news agency FNB said the meeting between Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Russia’s chief of the military’s General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, took place in Konigstedt Manor, a Finnish state-owned venue used for meetings, negotiations and receptions north of the capital, Helsinki.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that Gerasimov and Dunford discussed European security issues and the situation in Syria.

On Thursday, Dunford met separately with Finland’s military chief, Gen. Jarmo Lindberg.

“It is really good that the United States and Russian have a dialogue in a tense international environment,” Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini told Finnish broadcaster YLE. “Finland is known for being able to organize and contribute to such discussions.”

FNB said Finland hosted a similar a meeting in 2008.

In April, NATO’s top military officer, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, met with Gerasimov in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was the first such encounter since relations between Moscow and the alliance sank to post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis and Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.