War in Ukraine: Finland closes border to Russian tourists

Finland is closing its border to Russian tourists.

War in Ukraine: Finland closes border to Russian tourists

Finland is closing its border to Russian tourists. Significantly tightened visa rules for travelers from Russia will come into effect at midnight on Friday night, as announced by Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto at a press conference in Helsinki on Thursday. The events surrounding the leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea and the mock referendums in Ukraine accelerated the government's decision, Haavisto said.

According to the Finnish broadcaster Yle, it is not a complete entry stop. Exceptions should apply so that Russians can continue to come to Finland, for example to meet close family members, to work or to receive medical care. The big difference will now be that Russians can no longer travel to Finland for tourist purposes - and from there to other Schengen countries. According to information from the Finnish news agency STT, this should reduce the number of Russians arriving at the border by 30 to 50 percent.

Finland with a long border with Russia

Finland has a border with Russia that is around 1,340 kilometers long and is by far the longest of all EU countries. Russia's other EU neighbors Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland had already restricted entry for people from the giant empire on September 19th. Since then, Russian citizens with a Schengen visa for tourist stays, business trips, sporting and cultural events are no longer allowed to enter the countries. The visa issue had also been discussed intensively in Finland since the summer. The northernmost EU country had already introduced certain measures to make it harder for Russians to get visas.

Estonia's Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu welcomed Finland's decision. It was created in close cooperation with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and contributes to the security of the entire region.

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