Thanks to facial recognition technology, Finnish Border Guards have identified and stopped a Russian citizen traveling illegally through the country.
A 36-year-old man who goes by the name of Voislav Torden was detained into custody on suspicion of committing terrorism offenses in Ukraine.
According to Yle, the Finnish news website, the suspect was stopped by border security staff while carrying out a regular check while he was headed to board a flight to the French city of Nice.
Yle sources reveal that the suspect presented a Russian passport and residence permit granted by Finnish authorities, but after being subjected to further investigations, there was evidence that the suspect’s real name was Jan Petrovskiy and that he was banned from entering Norway and the Czech Republic, and later on, by the entire Schengen area.
Finnish media reports have named Torden as a leader of the Rusich group – a designated neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation as the Council of Europe announced in 2022.
After being detained, the Finnish authorities asked for his residence permit to be revoked and he also risks of being deported from Finland.
“Border Guard officials justified this decision on the basis that Torden had attempted to mislead Finnish authorities by assuming a false identity and using documents that allowed him to obtain a Finnish residence permit, despite the existing entry bans against him,” Yle reports.
The same reveals that Torden would return to Russia immediately if his identity documents were returned to him.
He also said that he’d return to his home in St.Petersburg and is willing to attend legal proceedings from there. He has also expressed his intention to apply for asylum in Finland.
“Even before this [case], the authorities have been well aware of such a possibility. Of course, we are monitoring how the situation with these forces develops from here on,” Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said, while members of Wagner, the Russian state-funded private military, company (PMC), were expected to reach the country.= even one week prior to this incident.
While the Russian Touristic Federation has recommended Hungary as the country to issue easily Schengen visas for Russian passport holders, data shows another result.
According to Schengen Statistics, Poland has the highest rates of recognition for Russian nationals, with 98.4 per cent being approved applications.
In terms of application rates, Finnish and Spanish consulates have accepted the most requests for visas filed by Russians -112,000 and 166,000, respectively, while Polish consulates received some 2,000 applications filed from this nationality group in 2022.