Updated 6.35pm

Helsinki announced Friday that it would "significantly restrict the entry of Russian citizens" in the "coming days" after Finland saw an influx over its eastern border following Russia's mobilisation orders.

"Those crossing the border on tourism grounds alone will be barred from entering," Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters on Friday.

This applies both to Russians travelling on tourist visas issued by Finland and tourist visas issued by any other Schengen country, Haavisto said.

Haavisto said that the decision would be finalised in the "coming days."

"I believe that after the government's decision, the application can start very quickly," he said.

The government's Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy also concluded that new tourist visas would be restricted. 

As a justification, Finland cites "serious damage to its international position", in contrast to the Baltic countries which have classified tourism from Russia a security threat.

"We have taken as our starting point the practice made possible by the Schengen system of refusing entry on the grounds of endangering international relations," Haavisto said.

The number of Russians entering Finland has doubled -- with more than 6,000 Russians entering on Thursday -- since Moscow announced a mobilisation for the Ukraine war, a border agency spokesman told AFP on Friday.

Following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in July, there has also been a boom in Russian travellers as well as a rising backlash in Europe against allowing in Russian tourists while the war in Ukraine rages.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that: "Russian tourism and travel has to be stopped, including transit through Finland."

Finland has been calling for an EU decision to limit visas for Russians, but Haavisto said on Wednesday that "it cannot be guaranteed that this move would happen very quickly".

The Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania -- which border Russia -- have already toughened their own visa rules leaving Finland as Russia's last EU neighbour for Schengen visa holders to transit through.

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