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Russia and Finland Sign Icebreaker Deal for Baltic Sea

The world's first nuclear icebreaker "Lenin" in the port of Murmansk, Russia.

Russia and Finland have signed an agreement on the provision of mutual icebreaking services in a bid to improve navigation in the eastern Gulf of Finland.

The new rules will allow Finnish icebreakers to operate in Russian territorial waters in return for financial compensation, said a statement posted Monday on the Finnish Transportation Ministry website.

In accordance with the agreement, Russian icebreakers will also help ships at Finnish ports, though all operations in territorial waters will be subject to prior approval.

Russian Transportation Minister Sergei Aristov and his Finnish counterpart Harri Pursiainen were prompted to sign the icebreaking accord following a particularly harsh winter in 2010 when conditions in the gulf were tough, said a statement on the Russian ministry's website.

The transportation ministers also signed an amendment to an existing road transport agreement that will allow Russian transport operators to carry higher weights in Finland, the statement added.

The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost part of the Baltic Sea and borders Russia, Estonia and Finland.

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