Ukraine war: Russian tourists denied entry into Finland

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Image Source: Georgia Today

Finland is the last of Moscow’s EU neighbors to close its border to Russian tourists as of this Friday.

Russian visitors were barred from entering Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania earlier this month. However, Russians will still be able to travel to Finland to see relatives, work, and study.

The choice was made in response to an increase in the number of Russians crossing the border after President Vladimir Putin called up 300,000 military reservists.

People are attempting to flee, which has caused lineups to build at border crossings, including protracted queues at Russia’s border with Georgia, which does not require a visa for entry.

Following the partial mobilization, more people tried to cross the border in Finland, which has an 800-mile (1,300-kilometer) border with Russia and does require a visa.

The mobilization order had a “major impact” on the decision, according to Pekka Haavisto, the foreign minister of Finland, who was speaking at a press conference on Thursday.

He claimed that the choice was made in an effort to entirely stop the current scenario of Russian travel to Finland and the associated transit there.

In addition to prohibiting entry for Russians on Schengen tourist visas, the measure goes into effect at midnight.

Additionally, Mr. Haavisto stated that the influx of Russians was perceived as a threat to Finland’s relations with other countries.

Russian citizens visiting Finland will now require an invitation from a business or personal acquaintance in order to apply for a visa in advance at a center in Russia.

This month, the European Union also chose to suspend a visa agreement with Russia in order to increase the cost and difficulty of obtaining visas for Russian nationals.

Since the invasion of Ukraine in February, more than a million Russians have visited nations in the EU.

Separately, four Russian bordering EU nations—Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—implemented new regulations and started turning away Russian tourists.

Additionally, Norway and Russia have a brief border. Despite not being a member of the EU, it is a part of the Schengen region, allowing Russians with the right permits to continue their travels to 25 other European nations.

However, Norway this week discontinued a long-standing agreement that allowed for visa-free travel to Russia.

Following Mr. Putin’s declaration of his mobilization, Norway has likewise recorded a minor rise in crossings from Russia at its lone checkpoint, Storskog.

Massive lines can be seen in drone footage at the Russian-Georgian border.

Drone footage from the Ukraine conflict reveals lengthy lines at the Russian-Georgian border.

Read Also: Russia halts supply of gas to Finland 

In footage captured by a drone on Monday, massive lines of vehicles are seen waiting at the Russian side of the Russian-Georgian border. Also observed were some folks walking.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of reservists to join the conflict in Ukraine last week, with an estimated 300,000 being called up.

Since then, tens of thousands of Russian residents have emigrated to nearby nations like Kazakhstan and Georgia.

Russians camp at Finland and other EU countries’ borders

To avoid being drafted into the military for the Ukraine conflict, Russian males attempt to emigrate.

Since President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization on Wednesday, which could see 300,000 people called to battle, lines have built up at border crossings.

Reports of males of combat age running away, according to the Kremlin, are overstated.

However, miles-long lines of vehicles, including men trying to flee the fighting, have formed along the Georgian border.

Some people traveling into the neighboring nation have gotten around traffic jams and prohibiting foot traffic using bicycles.

One of these individuals, who wished to remain unnamed, told Nina Akhmeteli of the BBC that he had been waiting since Thursday at 9:00 local time (05:00 GMT) and that he had finally crossed over toward the end of the day.

Another man described a 12-hour wait and stated that he left Russia to finish his studies due to the partial mobilization.