The U.S. and Russian top military commanders met in Helsinki on Friday, and press releases from the two sides mentioned that the crisis in Syria and ways of preventing clashes in Syria between Russia and the U.S.-led alliance were discussed.
The American release noted that the U.S. and Russian militaries "have undertaken efforts to improve operational safety and strategic stability".
The U.S. further said that "both leaders recognize the importance of maintaining regular communication to avoid miscalculation". They also want to promote "transparency and deconfliction in areas where the militaries are operating in close proximity".
The U.S. Armed Forces delegation was led by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. and the Russian Armed Forces delegation by Chief of the General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov.
Russian news agency TASS said Gerasimov and Dunford Jr. discussed "various aspects of resolving the Syria issue and ways to ease tensions and ensure security in Europe".
Finnish representatives did not participate in the close door talks. Finland had facilitated the meeting at a fairly short notice, upon request from Russia and the U.S.
Later in the afternoon, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto met the two generals separately. Niinisto said it is important and positive that such type of dialogue functions, and Finland is pleased to offer the location.
Commander of the Finnish defense forces General Jarmo Lindberg met Gerasimov on Friday. He had met Dunford on Thursday. TASS quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying Gerasinov and Lindberg had "a thorough discussion of the European security situation."
Lindberg and Gerasimov also "emphasized the importance of a direct telephone line established last November, which helps build mutual trust and increase transparency amid growing military activities in the Baltic Sea area." The line connects Russian National Defense Management Center and the Finnish Defense Forces.