Russia invited Finland’s ambassador to Moscow on Thursday due to the seizure of a Russian art broadcast by Finnish Customs, according to Reuters. According to Reuters, this is an objection to the seizure.
Customs stopped three Russian loads of art objects worth tens of millions of euros in Vaalimaa last weekend, April 2 and 3. Customs seize works of art because they are classified as luxury goods, and the EU’s sanctions on Russia include a ban on the export of such goods.
Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zaharova Tassin said earlier that Russia expects Finland to return the confiscated works of art to Russia soon. The seizure is “completely illegal”, he said.
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Pekka Haavisto (Green) commented on the matter to Yle, noting that Customs will of course have to comply with EU regulations. However, Haavisto’s own position is that culturally and historically valuable works of art belong to the museums from which they are borrowed.
“Finland has no reason to pledge the goods of any museum here,” says Haavisto.
“I hope this can be resolved quickly.”
According to Tassi, the works of art are the property of the Russian federal government, which has been on loan in exhibitions abroad, which has guaranteed the return of the works.
According to Finnish Customs, the seized works of art belong to the collections of many Russian museums. The contents of the loads will be in temporary storage until further action is decided.
Yle was previously reported on the interview with the Ambassador.