Finland to ‘limit or stop’ entry of Russian tourists

Finland said on Wednesday it was preparing a national solution to “limit or completely prevent” tourism from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

“This national solution could include new legislation, which would be passed very quickly,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told a news conference.

Since Russian Covid-19 restrictions expired in July, there has been a boom in Russian travelers and a growing backlash in Europe against allowing Russian tourists as the war continues.

Finland drastically limited tourist visas for Russians in September.

But they continue to enter Finland with visas issued by other EU countries in the Schengen borderless travel area.

“Finland also does not want to be a transit country for Schengen visas issued by other countries,” Haavisto said.

According to a poll published Wednesday by the Finnish daily Ilta-Sanomat, around 70% of Finns want the Nordic country to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians.

Finland has called for an EU decision to limit visas for Russians, but Haavisto noted: “It cannot be guaranteed that this decision will happen very quickly.”

The Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which border Russia have already tightened their own rules on visas leaving Finland Russia’s last EU neighbor for Schengen visa holders.

The Finnish border guard said the situation had “not changed significantly” at the border despite Russia’s announcement Wednesday of a military mobilization, denying rumors spreading online of queues of several kilometers.

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