Finland from August will stop accepting applications for visas and customer service in St. Petersburg, including through visa centers, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said. Now all immigration and visa issues will have to be addressed to the Embassy of Finland in Moscow, Fontanka.Ru reported on July 28.
As Parlamentskaya Gazeta wrote, on July 6, Finnish Ambassador to Russia Antti Helantera was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. He was protested against the anti-Russian policy. The ambassador was told that the parameters of Finland’s accession to NATO currently under discussion posed a threat to Russia’s security, while Kyiv’s encouragement of military actions and transfer of Western weapons to Ukraine meant hostile actions against Russia, which could not remain unanswered.
As a retaliatory measure, Russia announced the expulsion of nine Finnish diplomats and the decision to withdraw the consent for the Finnish Consulate General in St. Petersburg from October 1.
According to Parlamentskaya Gazeta, in response Finland plans to tighten restrictions on entry for some categories of Russians, including real estate owners, university students and business tourists. In particular, property owners will have to prove that, for example, repair work in the house requires their presence. Among applicants, only those who are enrolled in educational programs to obtain a qualification or degree will be able to enter.
Recall that Finland and Sweden were neutral countries. After Russia brought its troops into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, both countries began to discuss possible threats to them and the need to join NATO.