Finland expels nine employees of the Russian Embassy in Helsinki. The Finnish authorities believe that these individuals were engaged in espionage.
According to a statement from the Finnish President's office, their actions contradicted the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, BBC reports.
The decision to expel the diplomats was made at a meeting between Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and members of the government's Foreign Policy and Security Committee.
The president and committee members also took the opportunity to condemn the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant by Russians, calling it a humanitarian and environmental disaster.
The current expulsion of Russian diplomats is not the first in Finland or in neighboring Scandinavian countries.
In early April, Finland expelled two employees of the Russian Embassy in Helsinki and refused to extend the visa of another Russian diplomat.
At the same time, Sweden expelled five Russian diplomats "for conducting activities incompatible with their diplomatic status" and announced that it would close the Russian Consulate General in Gothenburg in September.
In total, in 2022, the staff of the Russian diplomatic mission in Helsinki was reduced by 11 people. The Finnish police are demanding their deportation on suspicion of espionage. This is an unprecedented number of expelled diplomats in the history of Finnish-Russian relations.
Background. As it became known, Germany will close four of the five Russian consulates in the country.