Finland to Close Russian Consulate General in Turku
Finland is revoking the business licence of the Russian Consulate General in Turku starting from October 1, 2023. The decision was made following discussions between the country's President, Sauli Niinistö, and the Committee of Ministers for Foreign Policy and Security, reports Yle.
The closure of the Russian consulate in Turku is a retaliatory measure to the closure of the Finnish consulate in St. Petersburg.
Prior to the meeting, the President and the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (TP-UTVA) discussed the situation in the diplomatic missions of Finland and Russia.
The meeting also addressed the Russian consulate in Mariehamn, the capital of the Åland Islands, a Swedish-speaking region within Finland. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing a comprehensive legal report on the special status of the Åland Islands.
According to Minister of Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen, it is evident that the relations between Finland and Russia have significantly deteriorated since Russia began its unlawful war against Ukraine.
"Russia's announcement of the closure of the Finnish consulate in St. Petersburg was absolutely asymmetric and a new measure against Finland," says Valtonen.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, four diplomats are employed at the Russian consulate in Turku. Valtonen could not yet confirm whether they will be allowed to remain in Finland.
Mayor Minna Arve of Turku strongly criticized the presence of the Russian state representatives in the city. She highly appreciates Finland's decision to close the Russian Consulate General in Turku.
The main consulate is located on Vartiovuorenkatu. The plot and the building belong to the Finnish state, managed by Senaatti kinteistöt. The official residence of the Consul General is located on Sairashuonekatu.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs pays the rent for the Consulate General in accordance with the diplomatic reciprocity agreement.
Arve believes that the well-located building near the city centre will certainly find new uses, even if the city of Turku is not the owner of the property.
It is worth noting that Finland has previously expelled employees of the Russian embassy for espionage and the collection of important security-related information on Finnish territory over several years. Other Ukrainian partner countries have also taken similar actions, expelling over 440 staff members from Russian embassies and consulates from their territories.