MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. Finnish Ambassador to Russia Antti Helantera was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday and notified about the decision to reduce mutual consular presence, the ministry said in a statement.
"On May 30, the Finnish Ambassador to Moscow, Antti Helantera, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and informed that the Russian side had decided to close the office of the Russian Embassy in the city of Lappeenranta from July 1," the statement said. "At the same time, the Finnish side was informed of the withdrawal from the same date of the consent for the operation of the Petrozavodsk and Murmansk offices of the Finnish Consulate General in St. Petersburg, which had been operating since the early 1990s. The head of the Finnish diplomatic mission was handed a corresponding note from the Russian Foreign Ministry."
The ministry said "at this stage, the Russian side has decided to reduce mutual consular presence with Finland, as it does not correspond to the current level of Russian-Finnish relations."
"Full responsibility for the situation lies with the Finnish side," the ministry said.
The statement said "the decision of the Russian side is due to the confrontational course pursued by Finland toward the Russian Federation, which has caused serious damage to the entire complex of Russian-Finnish relations". Thus, at the initiative of the Finnish side, "bilateral political dialogue was curtailed, multi-faceted trade and economic cooperation was ruined, the network of relations between twin-cities and twin regions and close cross-border interaction were torn up, and air and rail services were terminated," the ministry went on to say.
"At the same time, Finland has abandoned its traditional policy of non-participation in military alliances and joined NATO, which does not hide its orientation against Russia," the ministry said. "Obstacles are being created for the normal functioning of Russian foreign missions and companies in Finland. Provocative antics that threaten the safety of the staff of our missions are carried out on a regular basis, with the Finnish authorities being unable to prevent them," according to the statement.
The ministry also mentioned the ban for Russians to enter the country with Schengen tourist visas, which Finland introduced in the fall of 2022, and its decision to no longer issue such visas to Russians.