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Two French kayakers illegally cross Finnish border into Russia

Border guards in northern Karelia are investigating a suspected illegal border crossing into Russia. The case involves a Frenchman and his daughter who said they lost their way while kayaking on Pyhäjärvi Lake in Kitee, eastern Finland.

Image: Petri Kivimäki / Yle

Finland's Northern Karelia Border Guards say they are investigating a French duo who strayed across the eastern border into Russia as a case of illegal border crossing. The incident involved a French father and his daughter who crossed the border from Finland into Russia and back again.

A Border Guardsmen out on patrol held a French man and his daughter in Saturday afternoon after they briefly drifted across the border into Russia in the near Suitsansaari, an island in Pyhäjärvi Lake in Kitee, eastern Finland. Border Guards said that the duo had been kayaking in an area where civilian craft are prohibited.

Wandering into forbidden territory

Border Guard director Markku Räty said the father and daughter team explained that they had accidentally wandered into the prohibited area. They were on Suitsansaari island when they were detained by the border officials.

"They were evidently taking a break," Räty commented.

The French nationals had been kayaking in Finland since mid-May and intended to stay in Finland until August.

As a result of the incident, the Border Guards contacted Russian border officials in Suojärvi. They will continue to review the matter with their Russian counterparts.

Finnish Border Guards are calling on people travelling near the eastern border to verify their locations — especially in eastern waterways — and above all to ascertain whether or not permits are needed to move about in the border zone. 

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