Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

Starting September 1, Finland will allow Russian citizens to schedule only 500 visa application appointments per day, the Nordic nation’s officials said.

The move is designed to punish Moscow’s decision to continue waging war in Ukraine. The Finnish government has already reduced the number of appointments per day for Russian citizens to 1,000. But with the fight not over, Helsinki decided to act again.

Of the 500 appointments per day, Finnish authorities allow only 100 to apply for tourist visas, according to Jussi Tanner, director general for consular services at Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Finland has long been a popular travel destination for Russians. In 2013, before Russia invaded and then annexed Crimea from Ukraine, 75% of the 13 million crossings along Finland’s eastern border were Russian, according to Tanner.

The number of rejected Russian visa applications has risen tenfold since 2019 and now stands at about 15%, Tanner said.

425 visas are expected to be issued per day.

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, while recognizing that it was not a “black and white” issue, said there were many Russians who did not support the invasion, saying that many in Europe were “frustrated to see the Russians sail away as if it was nothing”. happened.”

“We have to realize that the ordinary Russian people did not start the war, but at the same time, they support the war,” Marin told a news conference in Oslo on Monday. “Russian citizens can travel, enter Europe, enter the Schengen area, be tourists, watch scenes while Russia is killing people in Ukraine. I think that’s wrong.”

Finland’s decision follows European leaders exchanging arguments on Monday about a Schengen or EU visa ban for Russian citizens, with the leaders of Germany, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark agreeing to discuss the matter further.

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