Finland’s Prime Minister warns of further actions on Russian border to curb influx of migrants
Finland’s Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, announced on Monday that the country may need to take additional measures along its border with Russia. This comes after the closure of four border crossings in an effort to control the recent surge in asylum-seekers. Finland, which joined NATO earlier this year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has accused Moscow of allowing migrants from the Middle East and Africa, without valid travel documents, to reach the Finnish border.
Last week, the Finnish government closed the border crossings in southeastern Finland, but new arrivals were reported at border checkpoints further north. Prime Minister Orpo expressed concern over the situation, stating, “The situation has progressed in a bad direction. If there is no change, we will take more measures, and if necessary, quickly. The message is clear that we do not accept this behavior.” He did not rule out the possibility of closing additional border crossings along the 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) Finnish-Russian border.
In November alone, Finland has witnessed the arrival of 500 asylum-seekers, a significantly higher number than usual, according to Finnish public broadcaster YLE. This surge in migration has raised tensions between Finland and Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded to the closure of border crossings, criticizing Finland’s claim that Russia has been assisting undocumented migrants in crossing the border. The ministry stated that the decision to close the crossings would “aggravate” Russian-Finnish relations and called Finland’s claims a “pretext.” They argued that the decision violates the rights and interests of citizens from both countries.
Notably, European Union and NATO countries that share borders with Russia and Belarus have accused these countries of deliberately pushing migrants towards border zones as part of a strategy known as “hybrid warfare.”
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