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Finland closes borders with Russia as draft-age men flee Putin’s order


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Finland said on Friday it would “dramatically restrict” the number of Russian “tourists” it allowed across its borders as an exodus of Russian men tried to flee and avoid conscription.

The Finnish government said its decision was made out of concern that issuing multiple visas to Russian men would cause “serious damage to Finland’s international position”.

Few details have been released on the restrictions Helsinki will now apply, although its decision comes after other neighboring countries took action earlier in the week to prevent Russian tourists from crossing their borders.

DETAILS OF RUSSIA THAT WILL AVOID CONSCRIPTION, WAR IN UKRAINE

Passengers get off a coach from Saint Petersburg, Russia, at Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, Finland, Saturday, September 24, 2022. Finnish border guards said on Friday that the number of people entering since Russia had risen sharply, with media reporting a 107% increase from last week.
(Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva via AP)

Finland’s latest move means all land border crossings linking Russia with Europe have been blocked.

The move comes as thousands of Russian men reportedly began fleeing the country following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree this week calling for “partial mobilisation” to funnel more men into the war in Ukraine.

Russian army conscripts change into their uniforms at the military registration and enlistment office in St. Petersburg, April 22, 2014. Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are massed on Ukraine's eastern border in this that NATO considers a state of invasion readiness.

Russian army conscripts change into their uniforms at the military registration and enlistment office in St. Petersburg, April 22, 2014. Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are massed on Ukraine’s eastern border in this that NATO considers a state of invasion readiness.
(Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images)

PUTIN’S CALL FOR RUSSIAN CONSCRIPTS WILL NEED WEAPONS MOSCOW DOESN’T HAVE, SAYS NATO CHIEF

Putin said he would mobilize “reservists”, suggesting anyone of draft age could be forced to fight in Ukraine.

Russian males between the ages of 18 and 27 are required to serve in the Russian ranks for one year, although certain conditions such as higher education and health may help some male populations circumvent the requirement.

Some 300,000 troops are expected to be mobilized to fight in Ukraine, where Russian troops are believed to have suffered heavy losses, although Moscow said on Friday that journalists specializing in technology, business and the state would be exempt.

Kyiv claimed that while more than 9,000 of its soldiers perished in the fighting, nearly 55,000 Russian soldiers were killed.

Cars line up to cross the border between Russia and Finland at the Vaalimaa border checkpoint at Virolahti in Virolahti, Finland, Friday, September 23, 2022.

Cars line up to cross the border between Russia and Finland at the Vaalimaa border checkpoint at Virolahti in Virolahti, Finland, Friday, September 23, 2022.
(Sasu Makinen/Lehtikuva via AP)

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The death toll throughout the war has not been independently verified.

But images showing airports full of men of fighting age and thousands causing traffic jams at border crossings suggest Russian citizens are unwilling to risk the statistics of fighting in Ukraine.

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