Russia has made the decision to revoke the license for the Finnish Consulate General in St. Petersburg, with the revocation set to take effect from October 1.
In response, Finland will also take reciprocal measures. This development follows Finland's deportation of nine individuals from the staff of the Russian embassy, citing violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. In retaliation, Russia has chosen to deport nine individuals employed at the Finnish Embassy in Moscow and the Consulate General in St. Petersburg. The specific identities of the embassy employees facing deportation have not been disclosed to the public, and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to provide further details.
Simultaneously, Russia has announced its intention to withdraw the permit allowing the Finnish Consulate General in St. Petersburg to operate, starting from October 1, 2023. Finland has stated that it will take corresponding measures in response to this decision.
In a meeting with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finnish Ambassador Helanterä presented a potential solution to address the ongoing bank account issues faced by Finland's missions in Russia. The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement acknowledging the severity and unbalanced nature of Russia's response to Finland's deportation decisions.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö expressed his recognition of Russia's actions as a severe response to Finland's deportations. He confirmed discussions with the chairpersons of the governing parties and stated that Finland is preparing a similar measure in response. Notably, he highlighted the counterpart of the Finnish Consulate General in St. Petersburg, which is the Consulate General of Russia in Turku, Finland.
Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen also condemned Russia's retaliatory action, considering it excessive and exaggerated. She expressed concerns regarding the future of Russia's Consulate General in Mariehamn, located in Åland.
It should be noted that prior to this recent development, Finland had informed the Russian ambassador that nine diplomats from Moscow were required to return home due to their alleged involvement in intelligence activities violating the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.
This latest move by Russia comes amid escalating tensions between Russia and several European countries following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Numerous European nations have expelled Russian diplomatic officials in response, prompting Moscow to retaliate by expelling Western diplomats.
By fLEXI tEAM