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22 Sep, 2022 17:26

Russian neighbor outlines stance on border crossings

PM Sanna Marin wants to stop tourism and transit through Finland
Russian neighbor outlines stance on border crossings

Visits by Russians to the European Union must come to a halt, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told journalists on Thursday, stating that her government is considering the security implications of Moscow’s recently announced partial mobilization.

“The will of the government is very clear. In our opinion, it is necessary to put an end to Russian travel, tourism, as well as transit through Finland,” Marin stated.

She added that Finland should act in accordance with Schengen regulations but also take into consideration the “security risks” associated with certain travelers. “Other countries, for example, the Baltic states and Poland, have used this very security risk and threat as a basis for preventing people from entering, but of course we need an assessment of this from our own authorities,” Marin said.

The PM’s comments come after Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told journalists on Wednesday that Finland “does not want to be a transit country, not even for [holders of] Schengen visas issued by other nations.” 

The Finnish Foreign Ministry is reportedly working on a solution to help limit the traffic of Russian tourists through the country or even “completely stop it.”

Finnish authorities have repeatedly stated that the freedom to travel to the country and the rest of Europe is not an intrinsic human right but a “privilege,” which they claim Russian citizens do not deserve in light of the ongoing military conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

Russians cannot continue to spend their vacations in Europe as usual when their nation is “waging a war,” insisted Haavisto.

Finland has already put in place a mechanism that allows it to deny visas to Russians and bar entry to those who already have them. Helsinki has also asked Brussels to allow EU nations denying entry to Russians to place them on a Schengen entry ban list and prevent them from entering the bloc through other member states.

Earlier this month, the EU suspended a visa facilitation agreement with Russia. Some member states also stopped issuing tourist and business visas to Russian citizens altogether while three Baltic states and Poland have closed their borders to all Russians, even those with valid Schengen visas.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has questioned the EU visa restrictions against Russians, noting that the move “may not be a good idea,” as reported by RIA Novosti.