Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine seven months ago, more than 1,356 million Russian citizens have entered the European Union through its land borders, according to the latest data from Frontex – the European border and coast guard agency. Meanwhile, more than 1,314 million Russian citizens have returned to Russia via its land borders with the EU.
Despite the partial mobilization announced by Russia, the regular flow of Russian citizens at the EU borders remains stable. This follows the implementation of various restrictions in residence permits and visa issuing policies at the EU level, as well as unilateral measures taken by the EU countries directly neighboring Russia.
Over the past week, nearly 53,000 Russian citizens entered the EU, around 20% fewer than in the previous week. Most of them crossed into Finland (over 29,000), which remained for a brief period the only EU country bordering Russia with the least number of restrictions after the announcement of partial mobilization.
As in the previous week, the majority of the Russian travelers hold residence permits or visas to EU Member States or Schengen Associated Countries, while others have dual citizenships.
The arrival of Russian citizens in the EU will be likely limited both on the EU side by a stricter visa policy, as well as on measures taken by Russia to deter men of draft age from leaving the country. Frontex estimates that illegal border crossings are likely to increase if the Russian Federation decides to close the border for potential conscripts.
On September 19, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia introduced restrictions regarding the entry of Russian citizens traveling solely for the purpose of tourism or leisure. Latvia announced an emergency situation in the areas bordering Russia on September 28 and all Member States in the region have increased border surveillance at the Russian border.