Russia closes Finnish consulate and expels 9 diplomats

The Russian Foreign Ministry, as “a response to the confrontational actions of the Finnish authorities”, withdrew the consent to operate the Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg as of October 1, the Foreign Ministry’s website says.

The Foreign Ministry also declared persona non grata nine employees of the Embassy of Finland in Russia and the Finnish Consulate General in St. Petersburg. In addition, the ministry protested to the head of the Finnish diplomatic mission in connection with Finland’s “confrontational anti-Russian policy”.

In June, Helsinki expelled nine Russian diplomats, whom Finnish authorities accused of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. At the time, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Finnish Ambassador Antti Helantheria to “strongly protest”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also stated that the discussed parameters of joining NATO by a neighboring country “pose a threat to security” of Russia and “encouragement of the Kyiv regime to go to war” “means obviously hostile actions against our country”.

Diplomatic relations between Russia and Finland deteriorated after the Bailiff Service seized the building and land of the Russian Center of Science and Culture in Helsinki in April. Finnish authorities also seized seven apartments where Russian diplomats lived.

Prior to that, Finland froze the center’s accounts in the Nordea Bank, to which Russia responded by freezing the accounts of Finnish diplomatic missions. As of July 1, the Foreign Ministry withdrew permission to operate the St. Petersburg branch of the Consulate General of Finland in Petrozavodsk and Murmansk, and also closed the office of the Russian embassy in Lappeenranta.

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