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Finland to ban entry for Russian tourists with Schengen visas — top diplomat

According to the Finnish top diplomat, the ban will not apply to those Russians who will enter the country to work, study or visit relatives

STOCKHOLM, September 23. /TASS/. Finland will ban Russian tourists with any Schengen visas from entering the country, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Friday.

"All those who cross the border for tourism will be banned from entering the country. This applies equally to those traveling on Schengen visas previously issued by Finland and those traveling on Schengen visas of other countries," the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper quoted him as saying at a news conference.

According to the Finnish top diplomat, the ban will not apply to those Russians entering the country to work, study or visit relatives. However, in his words, the possession of real estate in Finland will not be a "loophole" to bypass the ban.

"Details of the final decision are still being discussed," he said, adding that it could be expected next week.

Commenting on the partial mobilization declared in Russia, the Finnish minister said he did not think that avoiding army service was sufficient grounds to seek asylum in his country. "I don’t think that the refusal to perform military service following the call-up is a sufficient reason to seek asylum [in Finland]," the Iltalehti newspaper quoted him as saying.

On September 6, the European commission approved a proposal to terminate the agreement on simplified visa issuance procedures with Russia, which came into effect on September 12. Under this decision, visa fees will be raised and the visa issuance time will be extended, and visa issuing for tourism purposes will be given the lowest priority. The EC also called on the EU countries to check the "trustworthiness" of those applying for visas.