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Finland closes the Russian consulate in Turku – the investigation into the consulate in Mariehamn continues

On Wednesday, the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee for Foreign Affairs and Security decided to close the Russian Consulate in Turku. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Russian ambassador about the closure.

The measure is a countermeasure to Russia’s announcement on July 6 that it will close the Consulate General of Finland in Saint Petersburg on October 1, 2023. Meanwhile, Russia announced that 9 Finnish diplomats will be expelled.

The Russian consulate in Mariehamn has come under fire since Russia attacked Ukraine in 2022. The consulate’s operations have been questioned and an investigation into the consulate’s legal foundations is now underway at the Foreign Ministry.

The President and the Ministerial Committee for Foreign and Security Policy also discussed the issue of the Russian Consulate in Mariehamn and participated in the ongoing legal investigation into the special situation of Åland.

No decision has yet been taken to close the consulate in Mariehamn. At the moment, a legal investigation of Åland’s special status is taking place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where all agreements relating to the special status are reviewed.

It is a comprehensive investigation under international law. We are reviewing the full international legal basis for Åland’s special situation, and that also includes the consulate being discussed,” says Maria Josef, head of the unit at the Foreign Ministry.

There is no set timeline for when the investigation will be completed, but it takes about weeks.

– It’s going to be a thorough investigation, so it’s going to take time. But our intention is to have it finished by the end of the summer, says Josef.

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The closure also has other consequences for consular staff. They’ve had the opportunity to exhibit on Turku’s Kakskerta island, but that, too, is coming to an end. The island is owned by the city of Turku, and the city’s mayor, Mina Arf, announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that the agreement was being terminated.