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Finland watches eastern border as Baltics, Poland ban Russian tourists

Finnish officials say they don't expect pressure on the eastern border as the Baltics and Poland bar entry to Russian tourists.

Väkijoukko jonottaa Suomen viisumikeskukseen. Etualalla mies lukee kännykkäänsä.
Russians queued up at the Finnish visa application centre in St Petersburg on 18 August ahead of tighter tourism restrictions. Image: Grigori Vorobjov / Yle
Yle News

As of Monday, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are barring Russian tourists from crossing their borders. This means Finland will be the only EU land border still accessible to Russian tourists.

Responding via email, Taneli Repo of the Southeast Finland Border Guard told Finnish news agency STT that he did not anticipate traffic flows to significantly increase. He, however, noted that officials were monitoring the situation and would secure additional manpower if necessary.

Repo said recent restrictions on Russian tourists have so far not significantly impacted border crossing volumes.

Since the beginning of this month, Finland has drastically reduced the number of tourist visas granted to Russians to travel to Finland or through Finland to the rest of Europe. It has, however, not stopped issuing Russian tourist visas altogether.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) has emphasised that a visa ban would require a common EU approach. Earlier this week he said, "We are now waiting for EU guidelines. We are ready for tougher measures."

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