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Sometimes a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, sometimes a Porsche 911 Turbo S. Parking lots at Helsinki Airport, the capital of Finland, are filled with luxury cars with Russian license plates. The Guardian writes. After the Covid-19 restrictions in Russia, the country is now a gateway to Europe for Russian citizens keen to travel.
According to the British newspaper, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Havisto pointed out that Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, has become a “transit country” for Russian tourists. As a result, many cars with Russian license plates fill the capital’s airport parking lots, the newspaper said. Arrivals have been particularly high since Russia lifted its pandemic-related restrictions in July.
Finnish law prevents citizens of a particular nation from completely banning entry. For such an outright ban to take place, sanctions would need to be agreed at the EU level and some countries, including Portugal, have already opposed this possibility.
That’s why Finland announced last week It will only partially limit the number of tourist visas issued to Russian citizens to 10% of the currently issued visas from September 1. But tourists are entering Finland on visas issued by other EU countries. In fact, two-thirds of Russians crossing Finland’s eastern border use Schengen visas, a Finnish border guard study cited by The Guardian found.
Along with the war in Ukraine, the EU banned Russian flights from airspace, forcing citizens wishing to travel to Europe to drive to the border or use non-Western airlines.