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Russian accident may lead to charges against Finnish authorities

Finnish road maintenance could be in the dock in Russia over a fatal road accident on Saturday that occurred on the Saimaa Canal's maintenance road.

Turmarekka Venäjän hätätilaministeriön julkaisemassa kuvassa.
Turmarekka Venäjän hätätilaministeriön julkaisemassa kuvassa. Image: Venäjän hätätilaministeriö

Ten people died when a minibus and a lorry collided near the Nuijamaa border crossing. Russian press reports suggest that negligence by the Finnish road maintenance contractor may be to blame.

Nearly half of the Saimaa Canal, connecting Lake Saimaa to the Gulf of Finland, runs through a land area leased from Russia. By agreement, Russia leases the parts of the Saimaa Canal located in its territory, together with the associated land area, to Finland. Finland's Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment also has responsibility for the canal's maintenance road where Saturday's accident took place.

According to Seppo Kykkänen of Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications, in the past accidents involving Russian citizens on the road have been have been handled under the provisions of Russian criminal law.

"Russian sovereignty is in a strong position in this respect, but it must still be clarified what is the right way to proceed in accordance with treaty. A few minor accidents there have been dealt with under Russian criminal law, but they were very minor. There has never before been an incident like this, coming up to the administrative level," says Kykkänen

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