Russia’s foreign ministry announced on Wednesday it was terminating a cross-border agreement between Moscow and Helsinki. The abrupt move followed Finnish accusations that Russia has been fueling a migrant crisis on their mutual border.
Moscow’s foreign ministry statement said it had “terminated” a 2012 agreement between Russia and Finland on “the promotion of cross-border cooperation,” without providing details. The agreement aimed to “contribute to the expansion of friendly relations between the peoples of these two countries and develop long-term cross-border cooperation between them.”
In October, however, the Russian foreign ministry summoned Finnish Ambassador Antti Helanterä to inform Helsinki that Moscow was quitting the deal due to “the confrontational actions of Finland against Russia and discrimination against Russians on the basis of national origin in the issuance of entry visas.”
Tensions between the two neighboring countries have been strained since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, prompting Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership. Finland became a member last April, while Sweden is awaiting Hungary’s approval before it can officially join the Alliance.
In December, Helsinki accused Moscow of sparking a migration crisis by guiding asylum-seekers to the frontier and allowing them to enter its territory without valid travel documents, a charge Russia denied, saying the decision was ”unequivocally provocative and is clearly in line with attempts to further aggravate our relations.”
The same month, President Vladimir Putin told Russian state television that “there will be problems with Finland,” and accused NATO of “dragging” Helsinki into the alliance.