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Finland urged to freeze the high-speed rail project in the direction of Russia

In connection with the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the head of the Finnish Ministry of Trade called for stopping the road construction project towards Russia and allocating funds for the development of railway communication in other directions

The Finnish government should reconsider its plans to build the high-speed Itärata (Eastern Railway) in the direction of Russia because of the military operation in Ukraine. This was stated by Finnish Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Ville Skinnari, Yle reports.

“It is clear that the Itärata project and the activities of its project company must be suspended,” — says Skinnari. According to him, the funds intended for the project should be redirected to the construction of a railway connection in other directions. In particular, on the road connecting the cities of Heinola and Mikkeli in the south of the country.

Skinnari noted that this issue has not yet been discussed either in his own Social Democratic Party or in the country's government.

Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka has not yet commented on Skinnari's proposal.

According to Yle, the Eastern Railway project was designed to improve transport links between Eastern Finland and the capital of Helsinki, as well as to promote tourism and trade with Russia; a few years ago, the authorities estimated the cost of Itärata at €1.7 billion, but now the cost of the project should increase.

Finland lifted anti-coronavirus entry restrictions for foreigners from June 30. Since July 15, restrictions on land borders that have been in effect since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic have been canceled by Russia.

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However, soon after, the main parliamentary parties in Finland spoke out against issuing tourist visas to Russians due to hostilities in Ukraine. Jussi Tannera, head of the consular department of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, said that the country's authorities are considering six options for restricting tourism from Russia, including stopping visas, closing borders for passenger traffic, and following EU policy.

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