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Finland says EU restriction on Russian visas a step ‘in the right direction’

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto speaks to journalists during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain June 29, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo

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HELSINKI, Aug 31 (Reuters) – The European Union’s decision to restrict travel visas for Russians due to Moscow’s war in Ukraine is a step “in the right direction” if implemented by the Member States, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Wednesday.

EU foreign ministers have agreed to completely suspend a visa facilitation deal with Russia, making it harder and more expensive for Russian citizens to enter the EU, foreign policy chief says of the block, Josep Borell. Read more

“It’s going in the right direction, but once again we have seen that so far there has been a lot of talk and little action,” Haavisto told reporters, adding that the situation should be reassessed. within a few months.

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Finland and other EU members that share a land border with Russia, including the Baltic states and Poland, have called for an EU-wide tourist visa ban for Russians.

“When Russia invades Ukraine and we welcome refugees from Ukraine and try to help Ukraine in every way, it’s not the time for luxury holidays and tourism (for Russians ),” Haavisto said.

Last week, Finland’s largest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, counted 1,400 Russian-registered cars parked at Helsinki’s main airport, many of them luxury brands, drawing heavy criticism from the public.

An increasing number of Russian holidaymakers heading to various European destinations via Finland has led the Finnish government to severely restrict the number of tourist visas Finland grants to Russians to 10% of previous figures. Read more

Russian tourists holding tourist visas issued by other EU member states will still be able to travel via Finland.

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Reporting by Anne Kauranen Editing by Gareth Jones and Nick Macfie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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