Finland Shuts Borders With Russia As Military Age Men Flee
Finland on Friday announced that it is blocking all land border crossings with Russia at a moment thousands of young military age men are seeking to exit the country on fears of being drafted for war and sent to the front lines in Ukraine.
The Finnish government said it will “significantly restrict” the number of Russian “tourists” allowed to cross in the coming days, also describing fears that too many Russians flooding in would cause “serious damage to Finland’s international position.”
FT describes: “Under pressure both from the Finnish public, who strongly favored a ban, and the rightwing opposition, Finland’s center-left government said on Friday evening that it would stop Russian tourists from crossing the border in the next few days.”
President Sauli Niinistö told public broadcaster Yle. “The aspiration and purpose is to significantly reduce the number of people coming to Finland from Russia.”
Interestingly, this comes after Finland has resisted pressure from the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – as well as Poland – to impose a blanket travel ban on all Russians.
The new ban at the Russian-Finnish border means Finnish authorities will in effect reject even validly issued visas previously given by Finland and other European countries, according to Friday statements by foreign minister Pekka Haavisto.