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Russia to conduct an evaluation visit and observation flight in Finland

Defence Command
28.9.2020 13.00
Press release

Russia will conduct a confidence and security building evaluation visit conform to the OSCE’s Vienna Document 2011 in the Karelia Air Command on 30 September 2020 and conduct an Open Skies observation flight according to quota in Finland from 30 September to 1 October 2020. The mission conforms to the Treaty on Open Skies.

The purpose of the visit is to evaluate whether the information concerning the Karelia Air Command given by Finland in the annual exchange of military information under the Vienna Document 2011 corresponds to the current information that will be given to the team during the evaluation visit. The observation team consists of three Russian officers. The Finnish team hosting the evaluation visit will be led by Major Arto Toivainen from Defence Command Finland.

Open Skies is an agreement that aims to promote transparency and security in Europe. The agreement allows the signatories to conduct observation flights and take aerial photographs over the territories of its member states when these have been planned and announced beforehand. Finland signed the agreement in February 2003. The observation team consists of 14 persons.  The Finnish host team on the observation flight will be led by Major Antti-Ville Rusanen from the Defence Command.

Finland conducts similar measures annually, including in Russia.  All the visitors hold diplomatic status in Finland.

Due to the coronavirus, visitors arriving in Finland are required to hold a certificate of a negative result in a COVID 19 PCR test taken 72 hours at the earliest before their arrival.  Upon arrival in Finland, the tests will be renewed by the Centre for Military Medicine. The Finnish personnel on the host team will likewise be tested. After the tests, both teams will remain in isolation-like conditions until the test results get ready (about 24 h.)

Information for the media:

For additional information involving the evaluation visit, please contact Major Ari Toivanen, Defence Command, and about the observation flight, Major Antti-Ville Rusanen, Defence Command. They are both available by calling the Defence Forces switchboard +358 299 8000.