Tuesday. 27.02.2024

Finland's rail operator (VR) is boosting service on its Helsinki-St Petersburg train connection as demand soars owing to more and more Russians wanting to leave their country.

Thousands have already arrived in Finland via the Allegro high-speed rail link and on buses servicing the 400-kilometre route between St Petersburg and Helsinki, the Finnish television station Yle reported on Saturday.

"We are trying to provide several additional trips on several days next week," a spokesperson for the VR Group, the government-owned railway company, told the broadcaster.

"The trains in the opposite direction are practically empty," he added.

Many arriving Russians fear that President Vladimir Putin could shut the border entirely and invoke martial law, giving the Kremlin even more power to escalate its already punishing crackdown on dissent.

Putin said on Saturday that he currently had no plans to impose martial law or a state of emergency.

Russia and Finland share a border of about 1,300 kilometres.

Finland expands train service to St Petersburg as more Russians leave