Russian registered luxury cars are filling up Helsinki Airport’s premium parking lots

Expensive cars with Russian plate numbers are pictured in the premium parking area of the Helsinki airport on August 19, 2022, in Vantaa, Finland. – Luxury sports cars are filling up the parking garage at Helsinki’s airport, as Finland becomes an important transit country for Russian tourists flying into Europe. (Photo by Alessandro RAMPAZZO / AFP)

Helsinki Airport seems to be the new gateway for Russians wanting to travel to the European Union. A short walk inside the airport parking lot of the Finnish airport show tens, even hundreds of luxury cars with Russian license plates.

Finland complains that the Russians often travel with a tourist visa granted by other Schengen countries, knows British newspaper The Guardian.

Indeed, the parking lot is full of Porsches, Bentleys and other premium brands. “It baffles me,” said Finnish traveler, Jussi Hirvonen, after leaving the premium garage. “I wish they weren’t here before the situation in Ukraine is resolved.”

Finland wants to sharply reduce the number of Russian tourists in the country. From September, only 10 percent of the current number of visas will be issued to Russians.

But Russians continue to enter Finland mainly with visas issued by other countries from the Schengen zone. “They come here with Schengen visas granted by several EU countries and then travel on through Helsinki airport,” explains Haavisto.

Expensive cars with Russian plate numbers are pictured in the premium parking area of the Helsinki airport on August 19, 2022, in Vantaa, Finland. – Luxury sports cars are filling up the parking garage at Helsinki’s airport, as Finland becomes an important transit country for Russian tourists flying into Europe. (Photo by Alessandro RAMPAZZO / AFP)

About two-thirds of Russians crossing the eastern border with Finland do so with a Schengen visa issued by a country other than Finland, research has shown. “Hungary, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece and Spain are the countries that grant the most visas to Russians each year,” said border guard Mert ?a??o?lu.

According to the Schengen rules, Finland is not allowed to close the border to specific nationalities, says Minister Haavisto. Such a measure can only be decided jointly at EU level. “Since Finland and the Baltic countries are planning to restrict these visas, it would be good if all EU countries stick to the same line,” he adds.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin previously stated that she is in favor of restricting visas for Russians. She acknowledged that Russian citizens did not start the war, but states that at the same time it must be realized that “they support the war“.

Finland plans to raise the thorny issue at the next meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in the Czech Republic next August 30.

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