President of the Republic and Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy decided on Finland’s actions following Salisbury nerve agent attack

Government Communications Department  
Press Release 152/2018

On Monday 26 March 2018, the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy discussed the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury, in the United Kingdom, on 4 March. Finland immediately condemned the use of a chemical weapon in the attack and, together with the other EU Member States, gave its strong support to the UK. The attack in Salisbury poses a serious threat to the security of the whole of Europe. It is important that appropriate action be taken both within the EU and bilaterally.

At its meeting on 22−23 March, the European Council condemned the Salisbury attack in the strongest possible terms and agreed with the UK Government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible for the attack and that there is no plausible alternative explanation. In its conclusions, the European Council emphasised that the EU and its Member States should bolster their capabilities related to the prevention of hybrid and cyber threats, counter-intelligence, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks.

The European Council started deliberations on the need for action by Member States that is as united as possible, and discussions continued over the weekend.

The President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy determined that Finland will expel one official with diplomatic status who works in the Russian Embassy in Helsinki. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will notify the Russian Ambassador of the matter. The expulsion will be put into effect simultaneously with the corresponding actions of other EU Member States. Expulsion decisions fall under the competence of national authorities, and each Member State acts based on its own analysis of the situation.

Inquiries: Jukka Salovaara, Director General, tel. +358 295 350 636, Maimo Henriksson, Director General, tel. +358 295 351 247, Ministry for Foreign Affairs