News Bilder des Tages Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto speaks to media when members of the media visit the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge of the United States Navy in the Hernesaari Harbour in Helsinki, Finland, on August 7, 2022. The warship arrived for a three-day visit to Helsinki on Friday August 5 ahead of heading to the Baltic Sea to continue exercises with the Finnish Navy. Helsinki Finland PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxSUIxAUTxFRAxKORxJPNxSWExNORxFINxDENxNED Copyright: xAnttixAimo-Koivistox LKLAPA20220807111345H905

Finland wants to massively restrict visas to Russians. In the future, only ten percent of the previous number of such entry permits should be issued, explains Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

Specifically, from September fewer appointments would be made available for an application, which would lead to fewer visas for people from the neighboring country. Finnish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday that a visa ban had to be discussed, as is also being demanded by Ukraine.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz remains skeptical about a general ban on Russians entering Europe. It is right that this is being discussed in the EU, said Scholz during a visit to Norway.

But you shouldn’t make it even more difficult for opposition Russians who want to go to Europe and many of whom are already in EU countries to flee.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi had previously reiterated his call for a travel ban. “It must be ensured that Russian murderers and supporters of state terror do not use Schengen visas,” he said in Kyiv on Friday evening.

The demand comes mainly from the direct neighboring countries. Estonia and Latvia in the Baltic States have already tightened entry rules, and Finland is also considering doing so. Germany and the EU Commission in Brussels reject a fundamental freeze on tourist visas for Russians.

“Europe has banned air travel from Russia to Europe. This means that the only way Russians can get to Europe is through only three countries – Finland, Estonia and Latvia,” said Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.

“So it’s not really fair that all other Schengen countries issue these visas, but the three of us actually carry the burden.” Kallas referred to violent reactions in Moscow to the visa discussion. This shows that an entry ban can be an effective sanctions instrument.