Finland ends last direct European Union train service with Russia

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March 25 (UPI) — The Finland-based train operator VR said Friday it will end its service between Helsinki to St. Petersburg, Russia, because of European Union sanctions.

With airline service between Russia and European Union countries already affected by sanctions, rail service was the last remaining public transportation mode between the two.

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“Thus far we have been continuing the Allegro train services, according to the instructions by the relevant authorities and hence making sure that we can provide a safe passage to the Finnish citizens,” Topi Simola, senior vice president for passenger services at VR Group, said in a statement.

“During these weeks, the people, who have wanted to depart from Russia, have had adequate time to leave. Now, due to the sanctions, we will discontinue the service for now.”

The service is a joint venture between VR and Russian Railways. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more people used the service to leave Russia as air traffic was closed.

“During the recent couple of weeks there has only been about 60% capacity daily, on the trains from St. Petersburg to Finland direction,” Tatu Tuominen, VR’s head of communications, told Euronews. “From Finland to St. Petersburg it’s been something like 25% capacity on the trains.”

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