Finland’s Helsinki airport parking has lately been brimming with luxury cars sporting Russian license plates. These expensive luxury cars, including Porsches, Bentleys, and even the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, belong to wealthy Russians who have found a loophole to avoid EU restrictions on travel from Russia. Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year in March, the Western world has taken a multitude of actions to restrict Russia and put pressure on President Vladimir Putin to bring an end to the war. It not only includes severe sanctions against the Russian billionaires close to Putin but also actions like the ban on Russian aircraft from entering European airspace. This virtually made it almost impossible for Russians to travel outside the country. But those who live close enough to the Finnish border found a workaround by driving across the border and catching a flight from the capital’s Helsinki airport. This has led to a huge buildup of luxury cars owned by Russians at the airport’s parking
Russians were allowed to cross the border over to Finland starting from July 15 when the country’s pandemic-related restrictions were lifted. Over 230,000 border crossings were registered in the month of July alone, up from 125,000 in June when Russia’s COVID travel restrictions were still in place. However, not everyone is happy with the situation, including Finland’s foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto. Finland can’t close the border to those traveling from Russia under the EU regulations which don’t allow the country to close its own borders to specific nationalities. Such decisions can only be taken at the EU level. “It would be good if countries would be prepared to discuss the situation at the meeting of EU foreign ministers at the end of August,” Haavisto told AFP News Agency. “And at the same time as Finland and the Baltic countries are going to restrict these visas it would be good if all EU countries were to take similar decisions.” The European Commission is apparently considering making a decision on this matter.
Russian tourists' luxury cars fill up Helsinki airport.
Porsches, Bentleys and other luxury cars with Russian licence plates are filling up the parking garage at the airport as Finland becomes a key transit country for Russian tourists flying to Europehttps://t.co/6nDdsdFsPm pic.twitter.com/BL80KkZBK7
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 24, 2022