Two French kayakers illegally cross Finnish border into Russia

Border Guard director Markku Räty said the father and daughter team explained that they had accidentally wandered into the prohibited area. (Petri Kivimäki/Yle)
Border guards in northern Karelia are investigating a suspected illegal border crossing into Russia. The case involves a Frenchman and his daughter who said they lost their way while kayaking on Pyhäjärvi Lake in Kitee, eastern Finland.

Finland’s Northern Karelia Border Guards say they are investigating a French duo who strayed across the eastern border into Russia as a case of illegal border crossing. The incident involved a French father and his daughter who crossed the border from Finland into Russia and back again.

A Border Guardsmen out on patrol held a French man and his daughter in Saturday afternoon after they briefly drifted across the border into Russia in the near Suitsansaari, an island in Pyhäjärvi Lake in Kitee, eastern Finland. Border Guards said that the duo had been kayaking in an area where civilian craft are prohibited.

Wandering into forbidden territory

Border Guard director Markku Räty said the father and daughter team explained that they had accidentally wandered into the prohibited area. They were on Suitsansaari island when they were detained by the border officials.

“They were evidently taking a break,” Räty commented.

The French nationals had been kayaking in Finland since mid-May and intended to stay in Finland until August.

As a result of the incident, the Border Guards contacted Russian border officials in Suojärvi. They will continue to review the matter with their Russian counterparts.

Finnish Border Guards are calling on people travelling near the eastern border to verify their locations — especially in eastern waterways — and above all to ascertain whether or not permits are needed to move about in the border zone.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Poirier’s Revenge – The map of Canada has the wrong Arctic boundaries. No, really., blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Finland: More guards with broader powers needed on the borders : Finland’s interior minister, Yle News

Norway: New national park on Russia’s border to Norway and Finland, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden faces criticism over border controls, Radio Sweden

Russia: New rise in cross-border travel between Russia and Nordic countries, after significant drop, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Inuit organization plans economic development across national boundaries, Alaska Dispatch News

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