High-ranking US diplomat in Finland for Russia talks

Associated Press

Helsinki — A high-ranking U.S. diplomat has arrived in Finland for talks with his Russian counterpart to calm tensions between Washington and Moscow that have escalated to a level not seen since the Cold War.

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon met Monday with the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto ahead of discussions with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov at an undisclosed location in Helsinki.

Shannon is the State Department’s third-ranking official and earlier this year he held rounds of talks with Ryabkov to resolve numerous irritants in the icy U.S.-Russian relations, such as the tit-for-tat closures of diplomatic missions and expulsion of diplomats.

Niinisto is well-briefed on the recent U.S.-Russian developments as he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland in late July and with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Aug. 28.