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Border Guard: Number of Russians entering Finland is on the rise

The government is to present a bill on stricter border rules early next week.

Cars waiting to enter Finland on Saturday at Nuijamaa, near Lappeenranta. Image: Roni Rekomaa / AOP

Russian citizens continue to cross the border into southeast Finland at a brisk pace.

On Sunday there was a queue of vehicles about half a kilometre long at the Vaalimaa border post.

A day earlier, some 7,700 Russians arrived in Finland through the three border posts in southeast Finland. That was 65 percent higher than a week earlier.

The Border Guard estimates that up to 20,000 Russians may enter Finland altogether this weekend.

"Border traffic remains busy and the amount of people entering Finland is increasing. Vaalimaa remains…the busiest of our border crossing points, there have also been lines in Nuijamaa in the past 24 hours," the Southeast Finland Border Guard said in a tweet on Sunday.

The Vaalimaa station is in the municipality of Virolahti, some 40 km east of Hamina, while Nuijamaa is about 100 km north of it, near the city of Lappeenranta.

Meduza: Russian men to be denied exit

The influx of Russians across the eastern border has clearly increased since Wednesday, when President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of men to fight in Ukraine.

On Sunday, Meduza, an independent Russian news site now based in Latvia, reported that men of mobilisation age will be banned from leaving the country as of Wednesday. It quotes an unnamed source close to the Kremlin as saying that authorities plan to close the borders. It adds that men of conscription age would have to obtain permission from a military enlistment office before being allowed to leave.

On Friday President Sauli Niinistö and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy (Utva) decided that Finland should further restrict the entry of Russians and the issuance of visas.

Haavisto finalising bill, heading to Tokyo

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) said in New York on Friday that finalising the bill would take a few days still due to legal and technical considerations. He described the policy as "very strict," saying that it would block virtually all tourist entries from Russia into Finland – which many Russians have been using as a transit point for holidays elsewhere.

Haavisto meanwhile heads to Japan on Monday and Tuesday. He will represent Finland at the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on 27 September. The foreign minister will also hold talks with his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi.

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