The Finnish defense ministry says a direct telephone line has opened between the defense administrations of Finland and neighboring Russia to improve mutual information exchange concerning accidents and other emergency situations in the region.

The ministry said Thursday the English-language hotline between Helsinki and Moscow was opened Nov. 1, and will operate 24 hours a day.

Emergency communications between the countries, which share a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) land border, has taken place until now via embassies and other intermediaries.

The ministry said the decision to create a hotline was an initiative of Finland during a meeting of defense officials from both countries in Moscow in May.