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Finland to ban entry to Russians after Putin’s mobilization order

But Russians entering the country for work, study and family visits will still be able to enter the country, officials said.

Finland will deny entry to Russians on Schengen tourist visas from Friday, following a spike in arrivals following Moscow’s mobilization order to fight the war in Ukraine.

“The decision is aimed at completely preventing the current situation of Russian tourism to Finland and related transit through Finland,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said at a news conference on Thursday, adding the “impact significant” of the announcement of Moscow’s mobilization in the Helsinki decision.

On September 21, President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization in Russia following Ukraine’s success in counterattacking Moscow troops.

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Putin argued that he was defending Russian territories and said that the West wanted to destroy his country.

Under Finland’s new rules, Russians entering the country for work, study and family visits, such as trips to see parents, grandparents and children, will still be able to enter, local news outlet Helsingin Sanomat reported.

Passengers on a bus from Russia to Finland walk towards border control at the Vaalimaa border checkpoint in Virolahti, Finland.
Passengers on a bus from Russia to Finland walk towards border control at the Vaalimaa border checkpoint in Virolahti, Finland, on September 23, 2022. [Sasu Makinen/Lehtikuva/Finland OUT/AFP]

As of September 1, Finland sharply reduced the number of visas, including for tourist purposes, issued to Russian citizens to a tenth of the typical number, a move seen as a show of solidarity with Ukraine.

Another European Union member, Latvia, said shortly after Putin’s announcement that it would not offer refuge to any Russians escaping Moscow’s troop mobilization.

Meanwhile, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at least 2,400 anti-war protesters were arrested at demonstrations across Russia against the mobilization. Many of those arrested were reportedly given drafts by the authorities.

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The mobilization order came a day after Putin threw his support behind referendums to join Russia this week in four occupied Ukrainian regions, the first step toward formally annexing a Hungary-sized part of Ukraine.

Moscow-installed administrations in Ukraine’s four southern and eastern regions said Tuesday night that 93 percent of the votes cast in Zaporizhia supported annexation, as did 87 percent in the Kherson region, the 98 percent in the Lugansk region and 99 percent in Donetsk.

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However, Western nations, including the United States and Canada, have dismissed the referendums as a meaningless “farce” organized by Moscow in an attempt to legitimize its invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24.

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