- A Finnish tourist site has started playing the Ukrainian national anthem to protest the Ukraine war.
- The attraction is popular with Russian tourists, Agence-France Presse reported.
- Meanwhile, Finland is moving toward a travel ban for Russian tourists in light of the invasion.
A popular tourist show in Finland has started playing the Ukrainian national anthem for holidaying Russians, in an act of protest against Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
The 100-year-old dam at the Imatrankoski rapids usually opens daily in the summer to the tune of songs by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, according to the tourist attraction's website.
However, since July 18, the city of Imatra has been opening the 16-minute show with the Ukrainian national anthem instead, its website said.
The rapids show at Imatrankoski is particularly popular with Russian tourists, Agence France-Presse reported.
—AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 15, 2022
A Russian tourist at the rapids told the outlet that the change in song was "very bad for Russians who love Finland," but said he understood why the local government made its choice.
"Not all Russians are for Putin. The government and all people must understand this," he said, per AFP.
In the nearby city of Lappeenranta, a popular shopping spot for Russian tourists, the Ukrainian national anthem is also being played every day from its city hall, AFP reported.
These recent decisions underscore a wider attitude in Finland, where citizens are voicing opposition to allowing Russian tourists to spend their money in their country while Moscow wages its war in Ukraine.
Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia and only just opened its borders for tourism on July 1 following months of pandemic travel restrictions. The country issued 10,520 tourist visas to Russians in the first three weeks of July alone, The Guardian reported, citing statistics from the Finnish foreign ministry.
The Nordic nation's leaders are now calling for the European Union to enact a travel ban on Russians, citing the war in Ukraine. Estonia, which also borders Russia, joined Finland in its request on Tuesday.
Because Finland and Estonia are part of the Schengen area — where people and goods can move freely between the EU's 22 nations as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland — visas issued by Finland are valid in the 25 other countries in the travel zone.