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Environmental activists block transit of Russian coal through Finland

Members of Greenpeace and the Extinction Rebellion climate action movement are attempting to block shipments of coal from Russia to Central Europe via Finland.

Activists block the gate at the Koverhar Harbour in Hanko preventing trains filled with Russian coal from passing through. Image: Elokapina

Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion activists have blocked train traffic at the Koverhar Harbour's gate in Hanko, in southwest Finland, on Tuesday afternoon in an effort to prevent coal being transported from Russia to Central Europe via Finland.

The Finnish state-owned rail firm VR previously suspended all rail traffic from Russia, but then reversed its position and allowed cargo traffic to continue.

"It will take months before Russia's funding and the facilitation of its fossil fuel trade ceases, meanwhile the number of Ukrainian civilian casualties increases day by day. It is shocking that in this situation we do not already have a reasonable solution for our energy consumption, especially because at the same time we could stop funding the Russian dictatorship and curb the looming climate crisis," Extinction Rebellion activist Raili Nylund told Yle from the harbour's gate.

Elijah Saulio, another activist at the gate, justified the act not only as standing in solidarity with Ukraine, but also due to the environmental concerns.

"There is a direct link between global warming and this war. We are financing Russia's wars by buying fossil energy from it, and transit traffic through Finland will allow it to be resold," Saulio said.

Extinction Rebellion demanded that transit traffic of Russian fossil fuels through Finland end immediately, and also called for Finland to immediately secede from Russian energy sources.