Finland closing border for Russian tourists on Friday
HELSINKI. Sept 29 (Interfax) - The Finnish government decided on Thursday to close the border for Russian tourists, including Schengen visa holders, on Thursday.
"The ban on entering the country and transit takes effect on Friday," Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said at a government briefing.
"As a rule, tourist visas belonging to Russians are annulled. In this case, travelers will no longer be able to enter into the EU with a visa issued by Finland across the border of another state," he said.
At the same time, Finland is still issuing work, study, medical and family visas. Family visas are issued for visiting close relatives, such as children, parents and grandparents. Diplomatic staff and their families and opposition members are a special category.
Every application for entering into Finland will be processed individually.
Finland was the only EU state whose land border Russian tourists could cross on their way to other Schengen countries. The Baltic countries and Poland barred Russian tourists on September 19. They said they viewed all Russian tourists as a security threat.
The Finnish Security Intelligence Service said that not every Russian tourist was a security threat, and the government had to refer to the damage to its international reputation in its decision.