Russian tourists are out of luck if they try to cross over into Finland after midnight on Thursday. Reuters reports that's when the Nordic country is shutting its 830-mile-long border shared with its larger neighbor, with the Finnish government claiming that the multitudes of Russians coming over are putting Finland's international relations at risk. Russians entering Finland to visit family, or for work or study purposes, will still be permitted to enter, as will Russian political dissidents trying to come to Finland for humanitarian reasons, per the AP.
The BBC notes that Finland is the last of the EU nations bordering Russia to shut down entry to Russian tourists—Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia already did so earlier this month. Finland made the call after experiencing a surge of Russians at border checkpoints on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin issuing a massive call-up of military reservists for its continued invasion of Ukraine. More than a million Russians have fled their home country since Putin launched his attacks in February.
"The decision in principle aims to completely prevent Russian tourism to Finland and the related transit through Finland," Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said during a Wednesday presser, per the AP. Among the reasons underlying Finland's decision is the Russian war in Ukraine, as well as the recent Nord Stream pipeline leaks and "illegal" referendums arranged by the Kremlin to annex key regions of Ukraine. The Finnish government said it consulted with Ukraine's leaders before announcing the border closure. (More Finland stories.)