Finland: No need for diplomatic action on Aranda

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Finland will not request clarification on the Russian Navy’s run-in with Finnish marine research vessel Aranda.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday announced that neither of two incidents reported by the Finnish Environment Institute on Saturday had posed a danger to the vessel.

The Finnish Environment Institute announced on the weekend that Russian warships had disrupted the Aranda’s movement east of Gotland twice in recent months. The Foreign Ministry announced earlier on Monday that diplomatic means would be considered if Russia’s actions were found to have endangered the safety of the Aranda. According to the Transport Safety Agency Trafi, the encounter posed no such danger.

The Foreign Ministry announced on Monday afternoon that the case will not give rise to diplomatic action.

“There are no legal issues in need of clarification” says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ topical communications head Vesa Häkkinen.

Diplomatic measures would in practice mean, for example, sending a note to Russia, calling on the ambassador to join discussions or raising the issue at a meeting of foreign ministers.

Trafi: No risk of an accident

Trafi received more information on Monday about the alleged harassment of the research vessel Aranda in international waters in late summer and early autumn.

“Our view is that maritime safety has not been compromised,” says Trafi director Juha Korsi.

According to the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) the Finnish crew and Swedish researchers on board the vessel had felt threatened during the incidents. However, the captain of the vessel had not notified authorities of the events as he had not perceived the situation as dangerous.

“The situation may have looked worse in the eyes of the layman than in the eyes of maritime professionals,” Korsi said.

According to SYKE, in the more recent encounter, a Russian helicopter had approached the Aranda a couple of times, followed by a Russian warship, which overtook the smaller vessel.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian Military explores sunken sailing ship in the Arctic, Radio Canada International

Finland: Authorities probe suspected violations of Finnish airspace, Yle News

Norway:  Pacific Akulas arrive in Severodvinsk, Russia, Barents Observer

Russia:  Hamburg & the Northern Sea Route, Blog by Mia Bennett

Sweden: Sweden’s Greens rethink defence spending position after Russia’s airspace violations, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska military sites vulnerable to climate change, Alaska Dispatch

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