Last train to Helsinki for departing Russians
Credits: Alessandro RAMPAZZO / AFP

Last train to Helsinki for departing Russians

One of the few remaining routes open from Russia to the European Union is closing down after Finland's railway operator announced the last train from St Petersburg to Helsinki will run on Sunday.

Following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the twice-daily Allegro express train was regularly packed with Russians and Finns eager to get out before Western sanctions make leaving all-but impossible.

However, on Thursday Finland's minister for state-owned enterprises Tytti Tuppurainen informed VR that "operating the service was no longer appropriate" in light of the heavy sanctions against Russia.

The rail operator said the last train from Russia to Finland will operate on Sunday morning.

Although many Russians have reportedly sought to leave, the Allegro link to Helsinki has only been open to a select few.

Moscow stipulates that passengers must be Russian or Finnish citizens. A visa is required as well as proof of an EU-recognised Covid vaccination, and not the Sputnik dose which is most commonly given in Russia.

Most passengers arriving in the Finnish capital have therefore been Russians who live, work or study in Europe.

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