Finland says Russia set to terminate agreement on military visits

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Finnish border guards stand near border fence with Russia in Pelkola, Finland April 14, 2023. (Photo: Deccan Herald)

OSLO (Reuters) – Russia has informed neighbouring Finland that it will terminate a bilateral agreement on mutual visits to military installations, the Finnish defence ministry said late on Tuesday.

The bilateral agreement, signed in 2000, provided for one annual Russian assessment visit to Finland and a similar visit by Finland to the Leningrad Military District in north-west Russia, the Finnish ministry said in a statement.

Finland last month joined the NATO military alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, drawing a threat from Moscow of “counter-measures.”

The bilateral agreement, last applied in 2019 before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, was among several post-Cold War measures taken to improve East-West relations.

The broader Vienna Act, agreed within the framework of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which also provides for mutual inspection and evaluation visits, would not be affected by the termination, Finland said.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Conor Humphries)