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Debunked: No, 35km queues of traffic have not formed at the Russia-Finland border

The videos posted on social media are not of the current situation on the border.

For debunks (1)

VIDEOS SHARED ONLINE today have been described as showing a traffic jam at the border between Russia and Finland after Vladimir Putin announced he had signed a “partial mobilisation”, conscripting military reserves in Russia.

Multiple people on social media, including a number of freelance journalists, posted videos today which show long lines of stationary traffic. 

One tweet, which shared a video of a long traffic jam, claimed that the traffic at the Russia border into Finland had piled up to 35km long and was “rising by the hour”. 

Another tweet claimed that Russian civilians were “currently waiting hours” in a traffic jam near Finland’s border. 

It has been confirmed, however, that such videos and claims are not factual. 

In a tweet this evening, the Finnish Border Guard said: “Situation at Finland’s borders has not changed with the announcement of Russian mobilisation. There are videos circulating on social media, at least some of which have already been filmed before and now taken out of context. 

“There is incorrect information in circulation.” 

Echoing this tweet, the Head of International Affairs Unit at the Finnish Border Guard, Matti Pitkaniitty, tweeted that the “situation at Finnish Russian border is normal, both at green border and in border traffic”. 

“Just talked to our officers in charge. There is normal queuing in border traffic, nothing to report at the moment. Keep calm. We are vigilant and will report if there is something,” he said. 

Ville Cantell, director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland, also commented on the situation this evening. 

“Information of long lines on border between Russia and Finland circulating is not correct. Situation at border normal. Videos are not of current situation.” 

Jan Petter, a journalist with German publication Der Spiegel, said he spoke to the deputy head of the border guard in the south of Finland regarding the videos circulating. 

Petter said he was told that “the queue is nowhere longer than 500 metres at any border crossing with Russia” and that it is “similar in length to last week”. 

Earlier today, in a TV address, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had signed a “partial mobilisation” of reserves.

“I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Defence Ministry and of the General Staff to conduct partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation,” Putin said.

The conscription will affect only those who are in the military reserve and anyone with previous military experience. 

The Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said this will involve 300,000 people, adding that students will be exempt and that only one percent of mobilisation will be used.  

Google searches for ways to leave Russia spiked ahead of Putin’s speech. 

Data also shows that searches for flights out of Russia also spiked in the lead-up and aftermath of the Russian president’s address.

The Journal’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.