Their numbers aren’t nearly as large as the 17,000 arriving in Finland over the weekend, but hundreds of Russian men subject to being drafted into the army have crossed Russia’s border to Norway in the far north. Another 243 arrived on Sunday, according to local authorities, but few intend to stay.
Hotels in Kirkenes, the Norwegian city closest to the border at Storskog, are full of Russians waiting for seats on airlines flying south to Oslo and beyond, reports The Barents Observer. Norwegian authorities have tightened visa requirements for Russians, but those living near the border crossing have long been allowed to cross without a visa and others arriving already held them.
The numbers of those fleeing to Norway from Russia are much lower than at border crossings father south, mostly because of the distance involved and military checkpoints along the way. The Barents Observer notes that Russian authorities are tightening control at the “Arctic exit” amid speculation that Russia will close its borders.
The Russians leaving their homeland as its president, Vladimir Putin, escalates his war on Ukraine, are paying high prices to do so. Airfares from Russian cities to Murmansk and the costs of ground transportation have soared, all tied to the sudden demand.