Finland will temporarily close the branch of the Consulate General in Murmansk, according to the website of the Finnish Foreign Ministry. Its activity will be suspended “until further notice”.
“According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, currently Finland does not need a branch in Murmansk due to a significant reduction in the main tasks of the office. If necessary, the department will resume work in the future, ”the ministry said in a statement.
The Murmansk branch of the Consulate General of Finland was established in 1992. It dealt with issues of entry into the country, bilateral relations and the promotion of regional and cross-border cooperation.
In addition to the Murmansk branch of the Consulate General, there are three more representations of Finland in Russia: the embassy in Moscow, the Consulate General in St. Petersburg and its branch in Petrozavodsk.
The decision to suspend operations only applies to the Murmansk branch and does not apply to other representative offices. “The decision of the ministry does not affect the activities of Russian diplomatic missions in Finland,” the Finnish Foreign Ministry said.
The VFS Global Visa Application Center in Murmansk continues to serve visa clients, and applications for Schengen visas to Finland can still be submitted within the existing entry restrictions, the ministry said.
After the start of mobilization in Russia, the Finnish authorities decided to restrict the entry of Russians. On September 30, the land border of the country was closed for citizens of the Russian Federation with tourist visas. At the same time, you can enter the country for special reasons (family reunification, study, work contracts, diplomatic purposes).
After the start of the war in Ukraine, Finland, together with Sweden, applied to join NATO. The accession of the two Scandinavian countries to the bloc is at the stage of ratification by the allies.
The Kremlin called the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO a threat to Russia. On the eve of the Ministry of Defense announced the formation of a military district on the border with Finland – in the Leningrad region, as well as the creation of a new army corps in Karelia, which also borders Finland.