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EU country with most visitors to Russia revealed

Finland has emerged as an EU nation whose citizens made the highest number of trips to Russia in the first half of 2023, according to data published by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is particularly responsible for monitoring border crossings.

The number of Finns traveling to Russia has more than tripled in comparison to the first half of the last year, the data showed.

  • Citizens of the Nordic nation entered Russia as many as 47,300 times in the first six months of 2023, up from just 14,000 over the same period in 2022.
  • Estonia came in close second on the FSB list, as its citizens traveled to Russia 47,100 times in the first half of this year.

The number of arrivals from the Baltic State more than doubled in comparison to the first six months of 2022, when it accounted for 24,100.

Germany occupied third place with 36,300 visits. Germans still formed the largest EU tourist group in Russia this year, as they accounted for 45% of all entries to Russia for tourist purposes. Out of 38,500 recorded EU tourist visits, 17,500 were made by Germans, the FSB data show. Poles became the second-largest EU tourist group with 5,700 visits.

The data provided by the FSB does not reveal the exact number of EU citizens who visited Russia this year since each entry is counted as a separate one in its statistics, even if one and the same person entered Russia on multiple occasions over the reported period.

The EU tightened visa restrictions for Russians in the autumn of 2022 as part of its sanctions campaign against Moscow over its military campaign in Ukraine. Last September, the bloc suspended its visa facilitation agreement with Moscow. Later that month, it introduced additional restrictions, banning Russians from applying for short-stay EU visas from third-party countries.

Those who want to stay in the EU for longer than 90 days should not be issued a visa at all, the bloc’s home affairs commissioner, Ylva Johansson, said at the time.

Some EU members, including Finland and the Baltic States, went even further.

Helsinki closed the nation’s borders to Russians holding Schengen tourist visas in autumn 2022. It further tightened the restrictions in early July 2023 by banning transit through its territory for Russians traveling to the Schengen Area countries for business reasons. Those willing to enter Finnish territory would also have to present a “justified reason” to warrant their personal presence on the nation’s soil.

  • The Baltic States said they would not even issue humanitarian visas to Russian nationals until autumn 2022.

Source: RT