Finland has announced it will close four of its eight border crossings with Russia as the government accuses Moscow of deliberately abandoning Middle Eastern migrants in Europe to destabilize EU stability. As the British daily newspaper “The Telegraph” reports, Finnish authorities have recorded an increase in people entering the Scandinavian country without proper documentation since August. They are mostly citizens of the Middle East and Africa without visas.
Finland closes border crossings
According to Interior Minister Mari Rantanen, the decision has been made to close the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala border crossings. Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo accuses Russia of wanting to destabilize Finland’s stability after its accession to NATO. He noted that there are “various indications that entry into Finland is supported and encouraged.”
Russia’s “tactical measure”
Moscow threatened “countermeasures… in tactical and strategic terms” in April after calling Finland’s decision to join NATO an “attack on our security.” A total of 280 asylum seekers have arrived at the border since September, according to the border guard on Thursday. However, Interior Minister Rantanen emphasized that “the numbers are not an important problem.” There are signs and information that people are being trafficked to Finland.
The crossings to be closed are the southernmost ones, which are in the most populated regions. The crossings in the more rural areas further north remain open. The closure of the crossings is scheduled to last from Friday midnight until February 18th. Asylum applications are to be centralized at two of the four open crossing points.
Finland is building a fence on its border with Russia
According to The Telegraph, Finland, a country of 5.5 million people, has already started building a 200-kilometer-long fence along a section of the border with Russia, which is expected to be completed by 2026. Currently, the borders are mainly secured by light wooden fences, mainly used to prevent livestock from crossing to the wrong side.