Twice as many border crossings: Finland tightens entry rules for Russians

Twice as many border crossings
Finland tightens entry rules for Russians

The partial mobilization in Russia drives many young men across the borders – also to the EU country Finland. Helsinki now wants to put a stop to this: tourist trips will soon no longer be possible, and entry with a Schengen visa will then also be subject to stricter rules.

Finland wants to significantly restrict entry into the country for Russians. Russian citizens will no longer be able to enter the country “for tourist reasons,” said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Russian citizens would only be able to enter the country if there was “another reason” for entry.

Finland had already tightened entry requirements for Russians on September 1st. However, people with a visa for the entire Schengen area were allowed further into the country. Stricter rules will soon apply to them as well. The Schengen area includes 22 EU countries as well as Switzerland and three other countries.

With the tightening of entry regulations, Finland is positioning itself alongside the other four EU states that directly border Russia: similarly strict rules already applied in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as in Poland. After the government’s decision, the rule could come into force “very quickly,” said Haavisto. However, he did not give an exact date.

After the partial mobilization of the armed forces announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, the number of Russian citizens entering Finland doubled. More than 6,000 people entered the country on Thursday, compared to 3,000 the previous week.

On Friday, the Central Asian ex-Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan, which borders Russia, also informed about increased arrivals from Russia. The ex-Soviet republics of Armenia and Georgia in the South Caucasus, for example, had previously spoken about mass arrivals. Flights are fully booked for days and, at several thousand euros, are so expensive that many simply cannot afford it. The destinations in former Soviet republics are particularly popular because Russians do not need a visa there. In addition, the Russian language is widespread. Turkey is also a destination for conscientious objectors.

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