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Did the Finnish President and the Swedish King abruptly leave the islands amid Russian Navy exercises?

Disclaimer: A number of claims and counterclaims are being made about the Ukraine-Russia conflict on the ground and online. Although WION takes great care in accurately reporting this developing news, we cannot independently verify the authenticity of all statements, photos and videos.

According to reports, the Finnish President and the Swedish King left a ceremony in the Finnish demilitarized region of Åland. The incident led to speculation as to whether their departure was actually related to Russian Navy exercises in the region, Newsweek reported.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden together with representatives of both governments gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the autonomy of the Swedish-speaking islands from Finland.

Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat reported that Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio left abruptly and returned home amid the festivities. However, the exact reason for the shortening of the trip is still unknown.

Finnish Olympic athlete Aki Heikkinen tweeted: “Extraordinary: Finnish President abruptly interrupted his visit to the celebrations of 100 years of Åland autonomy and returned to the mainland, now also the King and Queen of Sweden are out in the middle of the concert and left.”

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In particular, Finland is currently a candidate for NATO membership. Moscow warned that this candidacy would be “a serious mistake with profound consequences”.

Meanwhile, Finland is rushing to beef up security on its border with Russia to protect against hybrid threats, the Interior Ministry announced on Friday (June 10).

Fearing that Moscow could use the migrants to exert political pressure, Helsinki is planning legislative amendments that would make it easier to build stronger fences on its 1,300 kilometer (800 mile) eastern border with Russia.

Anne Ihanus, senior adviser to the Home Office, told AFP: “The purpose of the proposed law is to improve the operational capacity of border guards to respond to hybrid threats. The war in Ukraine has contributed to the urgency of the matter.”

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