Finland has announced that it is deporting nine staff members of the Russian embassy in Helsinki who are suspected of working for the Russian intelligence services. The Finnish government said the decision was based on a report by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo), which monitors the activities of foreign diplomats in the country.
The Finnish Foreign Ministry will inform the Russian ambassador about the matter, which was also discussed by the Finnish president and the government’s foreign and security policy ministerial committee. The government said the expulsions were in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which allows states to declare any member of a diplomatic mission as persona non grata.
Supo said the expulsions were a significant setback for Russian intelligence in Finland and corresponded to its counter-espionage goals. The agency did not provide any details about the identities or activities of the expelled diplomats but said they had been involved in intelligence tasks.
Russia has not yet commented on the expulsions but has previously denied any involvement in espionage activities in Finland. The move is likely to worsen the already strained relations between the two countries, which share a long border and a history of conflicts.