Finland bans entry of Russians as border traffic rises

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VAALIMAA, Finland, Sep 22 (Reuters) – Finland said on Thursday it will partly stop military mobilization from its eastern neighbor as cross-border traffic from its eastern neighbour, following President Vladimir Putin’s order to prevent most Russians from entering the country. was thinking.

Finnish land border crossings remain in some entry points into Europe for Russians after a string of Western countries closed physical borders and their airspace to Russian aircraft in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday that the government is assessing the risks posed by persons traveling from Finland, and is looking at ways to rapidly reduce Russian transit.

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“The government’s desire is very clear, we believe that Russian tourism (to Finland) should be stopped, as well as transit through Finland,” Marin told reporters.

“I believe the situation needs to be re-evaluated after yesterday’s news,” he said, referring to Putin’s partial mobilization order.

The Russian president’s announcement raised fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave Russia and prompted a rapid sell-off of flights out of the country. read more

Finland opted to keep its border with Russia open after Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, although it has cut the number of consular appointments available to Russian travelers seeking visas. read more

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At the Valima border crossing, about a three-hour drive from St Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, three-lane cars each 300–400 meters (yards) at 1:15 pm local time (1015 GMT), a border official told Reuters. told.

The crossing is one of nine at Finland’s 1,300-km (800-mile) border with Russia, the longest in the European Union.

“Traffic intensified during the night on the Finnish-Russian border,” the border guard’s head of international affairs, Matty Pitkanitti, said in a tweet. He told Reuters that border guards were ready at nine checkpoints.

Although traffic from Russia was busier than usual, border guards said in a statement that it had not changed “dangerously” in recent days compared to pre-pandemic times.

The statement warned that “incorrect and misleading” information is circulating on social media.

At around 1730 local time (1530 GMT), traffic continued to flow, according to a Reuters witness, four lanes with cars, each extending for about 150 metres.

A 34-year-old Russian man named Nikita, who did not give his last name, told Reuters he was going on vacation to southern Europe and said he was not sure if he would return to Russia.

After crossing the border, he said, “I’ll make a decision while I’m there.”

Border officials told Reuters that a large number of visiting Russians were traveling on tourist visas. Tourists must present visas and documents that prove their onward itinerary such as plane tickets, hotel bookings or invitations from a friend.

Unless tourists can credibly show a return plan, such as a return ticket, border guards cannot check whether they actually plan to return, Ilyas Line, deputy head of the Walima border station, told Reuters.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, other EU countries that border Russian territory, began removing Russian citizens from crossings at midnight on Monday, saying they should not travel while their The country is at war with Ukraine. read more

His ministers said on Wednesday that the three Baltic nations would not give any refuge to any Russian fleeing a mobilization of troops from Moscow. read more

Pitkanitti said 4,824 Russians arrived in Finland from the eastern border on Wednesday, up from 3,133 a week earlier.

A police officer told Reuters there was no change in the number of Russians in far northern Norway. Norway is not a member of the European Union.

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Reporting by Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen, Essie Lehto in Helsinki, Mila Nissi in Gdansk, Gvladis Fuchs in Oslo and Andreas Saitas in Vilnius; Writing by Stine Jacobsen and Gwaldis Foche, Editing by Terje Solsvik, Kim Coghill, Mark Heinrich, Katherine Evans, William McLean

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principals.

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