A view of Finland's consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 6, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)
MOSCOW/HELSINKI - Russia has declared nine diplomats at the Finnish Embassy in Moscow and the Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg "personae non gratae," calling this a retaliatory response, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
The ministry said Finnish Ambassador to Russia Antti Helantera was summoned on Thursday and was informed about the expulsion of the diplomats.
It said that the decision was made in response to Finland's recent expulsion of nine Russian diplomats.
Finland's Foreign Affairs Ministry also announced on Thursday that non-essential travel by Russian citizens to and through Finland to other Schengen area countries will continue to be restricted, and restrictions will be tightened for business travelers, property owners and students
Moscow said it had also decided to withdraw its consent to the activities of the Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg from Oct 1, adding that this was a response to Finland's confrontational actions.
Finland tightens travel restrictions
In response to Russia’s actions, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto said that his country was preparing counter-measures, noting on Twitter that the counterpart of the Finnish consulate in St. Petersburg is Russia's consulate in Turku, western Finland.
Finland's Foreign Affairs Ministry also announced on Thursday that non-essential travel by Russian citizens to and through Finland to other Schengen area countries will continue to be restricted, and restrictions will be tightened for business travelers, property owners and students.
Business travelers will only be allowed to enter Finland, which means that transit to other countries will be prohibited. They will be required to have an "essential reason to come to Finland in person." Property owners will also be required to provide grounds for their personal presence in the country, according to the ministry.
Students will only be allowed to participate in programs or studies leading to a degree (such as exchange programs).
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