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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto attend a joint news conference at the Hotel Punkaharju in Savonlinna, Finland, July 27, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS


SAVONLINNA, Finland (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia was ready to cooperate with neutral countries that bordered the Baltic Sea like Finland which is not part of the NATO military alliance.

Speaking on an official visit to Finland, Putin said an ongoing joint naval exercise with China in the Baltic Sea was a threat to nobody.

Putin, speaking at a news conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, said Moscow's military cooperation with China was "an element of stability and security in the world".

The drill started on Tuesday. The Russian and Chinese ships, which set off from a Russian naval base near the Polish border, will practice shooting at naval and aerial targets, the defence ministry said.

(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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