Niinistö: Decision to further restrict Russian arrivals ”not difficult”,

In an interview with Yle at the Finnish Embassy in Washington late Friday Finnish time, President Sauli Niinistö commented on the ratcheting up of restrictions on the entry of Russian citizens and the granting of visas.

”The purpose is to significantly reduce the number of people coming to Finland from Russia,” explained Niinistö, who is due to return home on Sunday from a week-long trip to the United States.

Earlier on Friday, the president met remotely with the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy (Utva). Together they agreed that Finland will significantly reduce the entry of Russians and the issuance of visas.

”As far as I understand, this ’significantly reduce’ means that all those who do not have a special reason, such as a family reason, would be rejected,” Niinistö said. The president said that the decision was ”not difficult”. […]

”A situation was forming here where Finland was becoming the only land route allowing Russians to go to countries where their entry has been [otherwise] blocked,” Niinistö said.

Niinistö said that restrictions imposed on Russian visitors by the three Baltic EU countries, for example, have been strict, but have not resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of people transiting through them. Russians are still allowed in for ”family reasons and other acceptable reasons,” he noted.

On Monday, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania began turning away Russian tourists. However their entry bans excludes Russian dissidents seeking refuge, refugees, lorry drivers, permanent residents of EU countries as well as people visiting family members.

Estonia officials said that the ”ban” would affect less than a tenth of some 4,000 Russians who enter from Russia daily. Läs artikel