Finland will work out a “national solution” to restrict or even block “Russian tourists” from passing through its territory, the country’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto announced.
During the summers, large numbers of Russians tried to cross the border into Finland. However, in September, the Nordic nation slashed by ten the number of visas granted to Russians, in reply to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Finland is right now the only EU member bordering Russia that lets Russians through with Schengen visas. Poland and the three Baltic nations has finalized the decision in early September to stop the entry of Russian citizens. Now Finland, too, is angling to do so.
The Finnish government “has planned to prepare a national solution on how to limit or completely prevent this Russian tourist traffic,” Haavisto said on Wednesday evening. This could include new legislation that would be adopted very quickly, or an interpretation of current legislation, he said.
Haavisto further added that, “Finland also does not want to be a transit country for Schengen visas issued by other nations. We now want to bring this transit traffic under control.”
Helsinki is calling for a common EU decision but “cannot be sure that it will happen quickly,” according to the Foreign Minister.
According to a poll published by the daily Ilta-Sanomat on Wednesday, around 70% of Finns want an end to the issuing of tourist visas to Russians.
Meanwhile, despite Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Wednesday of the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of reservists to relaunch his offensive in Ukraine, border traffic was “normal,” according to the Finnish border guard service.