Russian Center of Science and Culture in Helsinki
© WikipediaRussian Center of Science and Culture in Helsinki.
The Russian Embassy in Finland has demanded an explanation after restrictions were placed on Russian state property in Helsinki.

"A demand has been lodged to the Finnish Foreign Ministry to explain how the actions of the bailiffs are compatible with the norms of international law about the immunity of the property of a (foreign) state," the embassy said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Russian officials, the Finnish authorities cited EU sanctions when they imposed restrictions on the Russian Science and Culture Center building, the surrounding plot of land, and the apartments of diplomats who work there.

The Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reported on Tuesday that Finland's debt recovery agency placed temporary restrictions on the Russian building a week ago at the request of the Finnish Foreign Ministry. Officials now have three weeks to determine if the property can be linked to blacklisted individuals or entities. The injunction forbids the owner from making deals involving the real estate.

The newspaper added that the seven apartments in question are owned by Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian federal agency for foreign cooperation which was blacklisted by the EU last year.

Last month, the Finnish authorities froze the Russian Science and Culture Center's account at national bank Nordea, TV channel YLE said.

The EU, together with the US and Britain, has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow's military operation in Ukraine. The Kremlin has argued that the sanctions are illegal, while the Russian Foreign Ministry has likened the freezing of assets abroad to theft.