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Wednesday's papers: Russia-Finland diplomatic mission closures, new government ambitions and the healthiest Finns

Russia announced the end of operations at three Finnish diplomatic missions, mostly in response to Finland joining Nato.

Boats in the water, some boasting flags of the region of Åland.
THL's National Health Index found that Finland's healthiest people live in Åland. Image: Alamy / All Over Press
Yle News

Russia has sent Finland a note about the suspension of operations at its consulate in the Finnish border city of Lappeenranta, according to local paper Etelä-Saimaa (ES).

Russia also announced that it was revoking consent for the operation of the Petrozavodsk and Murmansk offices of the Finnish Consulate General in St. Petersburg.

Finland announced in January that it was temporarily closing the Murmansk office and in April announced similar plans for the office in Petrozavodsk.

The closures, which will take effect from 1 July, were justified by Finland's 'confrontational behaviour' which has deteriorated relations between the two countries, according to Russia.

"At Finland's initiative, bilateral political dialogue has been cut off, trade and economic cooperation destroyed, the sister-city relationship between cities and regions and close border cooperation broken, as well as air and rail traffic cut off," a Russian foreign ministry's press release stated.

Russia also accused Finland of rejecting the policy of military non-alignment by joining Nato's military alliance, ES wrote.

"The responsibility for the current situation lies entirely with Finland," the Russian ministry's release stated.

Keeping up with the House of the Estates

Finnish media, including tabloid Iltalehti, questioned PM-designate Petteri Orpo (NCP) at Helsinki's House of the Estates on Wednesday morning, focusing on topics like climate targets and energy.

Orpo and members of the National Coalition Party, Finns Party, Swedish People's Party and Christian Democrats are in their fifth week of government formation talks at the venerable building in the Finnish capital.

Reporters asked whether the new government will stick to the 2035 goal of carbon neutrality.

"The starting point is that climate work will continue. The climate law will not be opened. Everything will be done in such a way that competitiveness is ensured. Yesterday's news on hydrogen investment is great, as well as last week's on clean energy. These are the things we want to secure for Finland," Orpo said.

He added that the goal was to reduce emissions and create more jobs, stressing at the same time, however, that it ought to be done in a way in which everyday costs do not rise unreasonably.

Finland's overburdened healthcare system was also brought up by reporters.

"The aim is to get more carers, to make carers feel better about their work, to raise the prestige of the job. In addition, we should be able to attract new workers and people who have left the sector. How to organise work, whether health technology can be utilised. It is a complex issue," Orpo said.

Finland's healthiest and sickest

People living in the Finnish Archipelago's autonomous island region of Åland were hailed as Finland's healthiest by the National Health Index, according to newspaper Ilkka-Pohjalainen.

Published on Tuesday and commissioned by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL), the study gathered data between 2019-2021 focusing on people's health as well as their ability to work and function.

The healthiest people of Mainland Finland were found to reside in Ostrobothnia, as well as Uusimaa and Helsinki. The least healthy people in turn reportedly resided in North Savo and North Karelia.

The differences in health levels between regions were most evident in the prevalence of serious mental health problems, alcohol-related illness, musculoskeletal disorders and heart disease.

Between 2019-2021, North Savo had significantly higher rates of both mental health and musculoskeletal disorders than the other regions.

Alcohol-related illness was most common in North Karelia, with South Karelia also reporting high levels. Heart disease was found to be most rampant in South Karelia.

Edited at 11:46 to clarify it was the Russian consulate in Lappeenranta, not an embassy.

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