Finland government officials on Thursday announced the decision of closing its border to Russian tourists. Finland – Russia border is closed on Friday, Sept. 30 midnight.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said, “The decision aims to completely prevent the current situation of Russian tourism to Finland and the related transit through Finland.”
Finland was the last European Union country to allow Russians to enter as tourists. Poland and the Baltic States which also share a land border with Russia ban them to enter last week.
Finland’s land border closure will largely impact the Russian tourist flow to Europe since two-thirds of the 66,000 Russians entering the EU via land borders came through Finland, according to Frontex, the E.U. border agency.
The Finnish government estimates that the arrival of Russians to Finland will decrease by up to 50% after the closure.
Russians will still be allowed entry for family reasons or to study and work in the country, Haavisto said.
Under the new rule, Russians who hold current tourist visas will no longer be able to enter the country or make a crossing to the EU.
Finland in September lowered the issuance of tourist visas to Russians by 90 percent. Only 100 visas are issued in a day.
The visa ban came after long queues were formed by Russians at the Finnish border, trying to escape the partial mobilization announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he outlined his plans to deploy 300,000 military reservists.