Russian Tourists Banned In Finland

( Last week, Finland announced that it was closing its border to Russian tourists, closing off the final direct land route from Russia to the European Union, to prevent the thousands of Russians fleeing conscription from entering the country.

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree calling for a partial mobilization of “reservists” to fight in Ukraine. In response to Putin’s decree, thousands of military-age Russian men began fleeing the country to avoid conscription.

Russian media reported that flights out of the country quickly sold out after Putin signed the decree.

Helsinki said closing the border will lead to a significant reduction in cross-border traffic after nearly 17,000 Russians crossed into Finland the previous weekend.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said in a press conference last Thursday that the large influx of Russians endangers Finland’s international relations. Haavisto said Russians coming for family visits, work, or studies will still be permitted to cross into Finland.

Finland’s move comes after its discussions with Ukrainian officials and EU allies.

With Russian men making their way out of the country and Europe now closed off, Russian men have started fleeing elsewhere.

According to a recent report from NBC News, Russians are now fleeing to Georgia, Kazakhstan, and even Mongolia to escape Putin’s conscription order and Russian border guards aren’t trying to stop them.

Two weeks ago, the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, approved a bill that imposes harsher punishments for desertion, damage to military property, looting, defection, and insubordination when committed during a military mobilization or combat situation.

The Duma-approved bill replaced the phrase “during armed conflicts or military actions” with the broader phrase “in the period of mobilization or the state of martial law, as well as during wartime or while armed conflict and combat activities are underway.”

All Russian men ages 18-27 are required to serve in the military for one year. About 300,000 are expected to be mobilized to join the fight in Ukraine.