2 months blocked at Russian border | Polarjournal
Russia closed its borders to non-Russians on March 18. (Photo: Pyry Sarkiola / Yel News)

A man stranded at the Finnish-Russian border station Vaalimaa in mid-March has been stranded on the Finnish side of the border for more than two months. Restrictions on freedom of movement between the two countries came into force at different times when Russia began to prevent non-Russians from entering at midnight on Tuesday, March 18, while Finland introduced a similar measure on Wednesday, March 19.

The landscape in the Kymenlaakso region is breathtaking. But after 2 months of forced stay, the man wants to return to his family. (Photo: Visit Kotka-Hamina)

Neither Russian nor Finnish

The man lived and worked in Russia when he came to Finland on an entry visa, but since he is neither a Finnish nor a Russian citizen, he cannot cross the border back to Russia.

Detective Chief Inspector Jyrki Hänninen of South-East Finland police told Yle Newsthat “this is a special and extraordinary situation,” but added that the case was no longer in the hands of the police. Hänninen also said he could not comment on whether the case was pending with other authorities because the matter was confidential. However, he was able to confirm that the man is not suspected of any crime and that he is not subject to any police surveillance or security measures. Police were also unwilling to reveal which country the man was originally from.

A unique case

Juha Kivelä, deputy commander of the southeastern Finnish border guard, told Yle News in March, when the situation first came to light, that this was an “individual case” caused by the exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

Police said at that time that the man had been temporarily housed by authorities in the Kymenlaakso region, adding that he was not housed in the police premises. The man can move freely within Finland until he can arrange his return trip to Russia.

Source: Yle News / Finnland

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