The number of Russians leaving for Finland every day has doubled after Putin’s mobilization decree

A queue of cars from St. Petersburg (Russia) is waiting to enter Finland via the Vaalimaa Pass (REUTERS / Essi Lehto)
A queue of cars from St. Petersburg (Russia) is waiting to enter Finland via the Vaalimaa Pass (REUTERS / Essi Lehto)

The number of Russian citizens who entered Finland by road this Thursday further increased after the announcement of the mobilization of 300,000 reservists to fight in the Ukraine war and reached the 6,470The Finnish border guard reported this Friday.

of them, 5,959 crossed the border through the Finnish southeast regionthe busiest due to its proximity to St. Petersburg, the means an increase of 107% compared to Thursday of the previous weekaccording to the border authorities.

“The situation this morning: the queues in Vaalimaa and Nuijamaa are longer than yesterday (about 500 meters in Vaalimaa). The situation is calm at the Imatra border post,” the Finnish border guard said on Twitter.

The queue of cars waiting to enter Finland via the Virolahti Pass (Lehtikuva/Sasu Makinen via REUTERS)
The queue of cars waiting to enter Finland via the Virolahti Pass (Lehtikuva/Sasu Makinen via REUTERS)

On Wednesday, the day when the Russian President Wladimir Putinannounced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists for the fight in Ukraine, 4,403 Russian citizens crossed the southeastern border with Finland, 57% more than on Wednesday last week.

Border authorities have not provided data on the demographic group that includes Russians entering the Nordic country, nor have they confirmed that the increase in border traffic is linked to the mobilization decree, as many observers suspect.

Finland, which shares with Russia the longest border in the European Union (EU) – 1,340 kilometers – requires Russian citizens wishing to enter the country to have a visa issued either by its own consular services or by those of another country becomes the Schengen area.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS/File)
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS/File)

This visa allows them to legally enter Finland, from where many Russians continue to travel to other countries in the Schengen area or to other non-European destinations.

The closure of airspace to Russian planes and the virtual blockade of the land borders of the Baltic republics and Poland for Russian nationals as a result of the Ukraine war has made Finland the gateway to the EU for many Russians.

Finnish authorities have tried – so far without success – to get the EU to ban tourist visas for Russian citizens to stop being a transit country.

Although Helsinki has reduced visa issuance to Russians by 90%, It is a legal obligation to allow entry to persons with a visa from another country in the Schengen area.

The Nuijamaa Pass crammed with waiting cars in Lappeenranta (Lauri Heino/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS)
The Nuijamaa Pass crammed with waiting cars in Lappeenranta (Lauri Heino/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS)

In the absence of a common European position The Finnish government is working on a nationwide solution to drastically limit the arrival of Russiansalthough the legal obligations of the Schengen Agreement are respected.

“The will of the government is very clear: We believe that Russian vacation travel, tourism and transit through Finland must be halted, but how to achieve this is a more complicated question‘ confirmed the Finnish Prime Minister on Thursday, Sanna Marinat a press conference.

According to Marin, the three Baltic republics and Poland have closed their borders to Russians because their entry poses a national security threat, but Finland, he claims, cannot do so until his authorities reach the same conclusion.

For the prime minister, the decree mobilizing Russian reservists has forced officials at the Interior, State and Border Patrols to reassess whether the risk to national security has increased.

(With information from EFE)

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