October 7, 2022

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War in Ukraine: Russians flee to Finland since partial demobilization announced

Finland, which is preparing to further tighten entry conditions for Russians with visas in the Nordic country, said “6,470 Russians entered through the land border on Thursday,” a spokesman for the country told AFP.

At the beginning of the week, the level was around 3,100, and the number of entries on Thursday is similar to the traditionally busy weekend day.

According to the border guards, the number of crossings to Finland is clearly higher than to Russia, but is relatively low compared to the levels before the pandemic of Covid-19, for example.

A partial demobilization order announced by President Vladimir Putin appears to have increased Russians going abroad, worried about having to serve during the war in Ukraine.

Officials have said 300,000 reservists will be called up, but many Russians fear a much larger mobilization.

Finland on Wednesday evening announced a “national solution” plan to limit Russian access to its territory.

The country had already decided in August to halve the number of tourist visas from September 1, facing the unpopularity of Russians crossing over amid a war of aggression in Ukraine.

“Tourism and travel by Russians must stop, including transit through Finland,” Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Thursday.

He said the risk posed by Russian travelers “must be reassessed” after Moscow’s demobilization order.

“Other countries like the Baltics and Poland use this security risk as an argument to keep people out,” he said.

But the exact solution that Finland will take is not yet known.