Timing of Russia note surprises experts: ”Of course this raises questions”

Summary:
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a formal note to Finland in mid-June in which it expressed its disappointment with Finnish consul Virpi Hanhikoski’s presence in the imprisonment trial of Dmitri Bogatshev, who is suspected of the smuggling of weapons. Experts wonder whether the timing of the note is related to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Finland. UPI director Teija Tiilikainen says that the timing raises questions, but that Putin’s agenda will become clear only later. The exchange of notes between foreign ministries is in itself an ordinary diplomatic exchange, though it is unusual to make them public. On Monday, Keijo Norvanto from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the note shortly to Ilta-Sanomat, saying the Ministry receives and handles hundreds of notes every year. Norvanto did not comment on how and when the note will be answered. Foreign Minister Timo Soini was not available for comment. The Finnish Foreign Ministry now holds a low profile on the issue.

Media:  Ilta-Sanomat
Date: 18.7.2017
Journalist: Petri Turunen
Main source: Keijo Norvanto/ foreign ministry; Teija Tiilikainen/ director, UPI

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