Norway bars entry to most Russian tourists

Copenhagen, May 23 (IANS/DPA): Norway will bar entry to Russian tourists starting next week, the government said on Thursday, as Oslo continues to tighten its 198-kilometre Arctic land border with its neighbour.

The Norwegian government began making it difficult for Russians to obtain entry visas for non-essential purposes in May 2022, in the wake of Russia's all-out invasion of Ukraine.

The border region also became subject to stricter controls to prevent illegal crossings of Russians trying to escape military conscription or those who fear Moscow could impose an exit ban on its citizens.

Starting next Wednesday, Norwegian police will have the power to expel Russians who are in the country on a tourist visa that was issued before May 2022. Such visas allow access to Europe's passport-free Schengen travel area.

The new measures also apply to Russians in Norway who have a visa issued by other Schengen member countries.

There will be exceptions to the new rules, however, including those visiting close family members living in Norway. Russians working or studying in Norway will not be affected.

"The decision to tighten the entry rules are in line with the Norwegian approach of standing by allies and partners in the reactions against Russia's illegal war of aggression against Ukraine," said Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl in a government press release.

The only legal crossing point is the Storskog border station. The Norwegian authorities are monitoring border traffic there closely and taking the necessary measures, according to the government.

Finland indefinitely closed its entire border with Russia in April.



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