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Train from Moscow evacuated, suspect detained

An earlier report that the man was the subject of an international warrant turned out to be wrong.

Katkenneet ajolangat olivat aiheuttaa vaaratilanteen Vainikkalassa, missä Moskovasta kohti Helsinkiä matkustanut Tolstoi-juna syttyi tuleen.
The Tolstoi in Vainikkala. Image: YLE Etelä-Karjala

The South-East Finland Border Guard has detained a man described as “dangerous” on a Russian train arriving from Moscow. The suspect was taken off the Tolstoi train when it arrived at the Vainikkala border crossing point around 10 am Friday.

Authorities originally said there was an international warrant out for the man, but later retracted that. They have not said what he is suspected of – only that he is “suspected of endangering general order and safety”. They have also not identified his nationality except to say that he is not a Finn.

He was detained without resistance during a passport check, and was being questioned at the Vainikkala border station on Friday afternoon.

The suspect reportedly said that he left a weapon on the train, which later turned out to be a rubber bullet gun.

The train was en route from Moscow to Helsinki, normally a 12-and-a-half-hour trip. The other passengers, about 50 of them, were removed from the train while it was searched. Some were allowed to proceed to Helsinki around 1 pm on the Finnish State Railways VR’s Allegra train, arriving in the capital around 3 pm. Others remained in Vainikkala, waiting for the Tolstoi to return to service.

Delay for dog search

The search was delayed because the Border Guard could not find the right kind of sniffer dog to take part.

“We could not find a dog with training for this kind of search,” Antti Nygård of the South-East Finland Border Guard told Yle. Nygård did not specify what kind of dog was needed.

The train was eventually searched with a dog, but “no dangerous objects, weapons or traces of gunpowder” were found, reports the local Lappeenranta newspaper, Etelä-Saimaa.

The Tolstoi’s return trip from Helsinki, scheduled for 6.30 pm, has also been cancelled. Passengers will be switched to the Allegro. Some other trains on south-eastern routes were running late by 15-20 minutes on Friday afternoon.

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