Russians Hiding in Finland on Forged Passport Stamps To Avoid Military Service, Border Guard Says

Senior border guard officer Juho Pellinen walks along a fence marking the boundary area be

The Finnish Border Guard has claimed that many Russians who entered the country in recent months have remained in Finland and used forged passport stamps in order to avoid military service.

Earlier this year, Finland saw an influx of Russians trying to cross the border around the time Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

According to the Finnish Border Guard, many Russians have remained in the country illegally using forged passport stamps.

“Russians also came to us through the air borders, not only to Finland but also to other parts of Schengen. I believe that we are talking about the thousands of Russians who are currently present in the region,” Matti Pitkäniitty, Head of the International Unit of the Finnish Border Guard, told broadcaster Yle.

Southeast Finland has reported a surge in the discovery of forged passport stamps over the autumn months, with the local border guard investigating at least 88 forgeries relating to residence permit cards, and at least 350 forged passport stamps have been discovered this year.

“There is a lot of attempt at fraud at the moment because staying in Russia is currently more difficult for many people than before,” Pitkäniitty said.

It is unclear exactly how many Russians have fled their country following the partial mobilisation announcement by President Putin in September, but some have put estimates in the hundreds of thousands.

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, a non-profit, has argued that the European Union should grant asylum to those Russians fleeing the war, with the group’s chair Kerstin Bergeå stating, “We think that Sweden, together with the EU, should give a clear message that conscientious objectors can get a safe haven in Europe.”

Sir Jeremy Fleming, the Director of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), also suggested that Russians may be fleeing the country out of desperation saying, “They’re seeing just how badly Putin has misjudged the situation. They’re fleeing the draft, realising they can no longer travel.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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