As hundreds of Russians try to avoid being drafted into the war in Ukraine, Finland announced on Thursday that it would close its border to Russian visitors at midnight, cutting off their final remaining direct land route to the European Union.
After around 17,000 Russians crossed the border into Finland over the weekend, the administration predicted that the action would result in a considerable decrease in cross-border traffic.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto stated at a news conference that the entry of Russian individuals into Finland for tourism purposes puts Finland’s international relations in peril, adding that the decision had been made after discussions with the Ukraine and nearby countries.
Entry for job and school purposes, as well as for family visits, would still be allowed, according to Haavisto.
The decision saw the Finnish government join the other EU member countries sharing land borders with Russia that have already forbade Russian tourists, out of concern about becoming a transit country into western Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone.