Finland to review status of Russian consulate – president

Finland will study the legal status of the Russian outpost on the Alands, the president has said

Finland to review status of Russian consulate – president
19 Jun, 2023 01:22 HomeWorld News

Finland to review status of Russian consulate – president

The authorities will check if the diplomatic outpost of the Aland Island is compatible with international law, Sauli Niinisto said

Helsinki will review whether the presence of Russia’s consulate on the demilitarized Aland Islands is compatible with international treaties, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has said. The Baltic Sea archipelago has had a special status since the middle of the 19th century.  

“It is important to keep a close eye on whether the consulate maintains its role,” Niinisto said at a forum in Helsinki on Sunday. The president added that he had “asked for clarification on what is the legal status of that consulate in international agreements.” 

Moscow set up a consulate in Mariehamn, the capital of the Aland region, in 1940 following the Soviet Union’s three-month war with Finland.

The Aland Islands were demilitarized under the 1856 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Crimean War, when Finland was part of the Russian Empire. Demilitarization of the archipelago was later confirmed under the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, which was concluded between Finland and the Allies following World War II. 

Last year, Finland abandoned its long-standing policy of non-alignment and applied to join NATO, citing the threats coming from Russia’s military operation in Ukraine that was launched in February 2022. 

Finland officially became the 31st member of the US-led alliance in April. The Kremlin said at the time that the continuing expansion of NATO was “an encroachment on our security,” and vowed to adopt “countermeasures.” Russia has repeatedly said in the past that it considers the enlargement of NATO a threat.