Finland will officially reduce the number of visas granted to Russians by 90% from tomorrow
Finnish authorities are expected to tighten the rules for Russians applying for tourist visas tomorrow, September 1.
Authorities revealed that from September 1, Finland will only accept around 100 visa applications per day for tourism purposes from Russian citizens. This means that Finland will reduce the number of visas issued to Russians by 90%, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Moreover, Yle News explains that tourist visa applications from Russians will only be received on Monday in four cities – St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Murmansk and Moscow.
Commenting on the government’s decision, Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told Yle that the country decided to take such measures because it does not want to become a transit country for Russians who wish to join other European countries.
“We have become irritated at the idea of Finland becoming a transit country when air links from St Petersburg and Moscow to the West are not working. They arrive at Helsinki airport and immediately go on vacation elsewhere. That’s not the role Finland wants.” Haavisto said for Yle.
Furthermore, the minister said that they have no reason to promote Russian tourism in Europe at this time and, at the same time, suggested that the visa facilitation agreement be suspended altogether.
The minister is now expected to reveal more about it once the informal meeting of foreign ministers, which is being held in Prague, is over.
Several European countries, including Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Norway and Czechia, have already backed the introduction of restrictions for Russians.
Lithuania is one of the first countries to stop issuing visas to Russians. Last February, Lithuanian authorities said the country would no longer issue visas to Russians, including those wishing to enter the country for medical purposes.
Estonia has also already stopped issuing visas to Russians. In addition, the country has also banned entry to all Russians holding a visa issued by the Estonian authorities. Announcing the new restrictions for Russians, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said earlier this month that such a move was only right because by imposing restrictions, Estonia wanted to deprive Russian citizens of the possibility of continuing to live normally.
Likewise, Latvia also stopped issuing visas to Russians. The Latvian authorities have suspended the cross-border agreement concluded with Russia on August 1.
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