Finnish border guards earlier this week reported the number of Russian nationals entering the country over the weekend spike, with nearly 8,600 Russians entering via the land border on September 24 and nearly 4,200 through other routes.
By September 25, the number of people crossing the land border was more than 8,300 and other routes were nearly 5,100.
“The entry rate is double what it was a week ago. The main reason is the mobilization order, but partly because both Finland and Russia have relaxed covid-19 restrictions imposed throughout the summer,” said Mert Sasioglu of the Finnish border guards.
According to Sasioglu, border guards are preparing for “difficult developments.” “It is possible that when travel is restricted, attempts to cross the border illegally will increase,” the official said.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that under the partial mobilization order, the military plans to mobilize an additional 300,000 reservists for its military operation in Ukraine, equivalent to more than 1 percent of Russia’s total mobilization potential of 25 million people.
Ukraine and the West criticized Russia’s move, calling it a “bad, wrong move” and a “worrying escalation.”
The Baltic states or the Czech Republic have said they will not grant asylum to Russians who want to avoid the mobilization order.
Meanwhile, Germany announced its readiness to take in these people.
Finland will ban Russian citizens with Schengen tourist visas from entering the country, amid a spike in arrivals following the military mobilization order.
“This decision is aimed at completely stopping the flow of people. Russia to Finland as well as transit through our country,” the foreign minister said.
Finland Pekka Haavisto told a news conference Today, adding that the partial mobilization order issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week “significantly influenced” Helsinki’s decision.
Schengen visa holders are allowed to stay in Schengen countries for up to 90 days in each 180-day cycle.
The new rules will take effect from 0h on 30/9.
According to Haavisto, the move is expected to lead to a significant drop in the number of people crossing the border. Entry for family visits, work and study will still be allowed.