The Finnish government announced the closure of all checkpoints on the land border with Russia for two weeks: from Thursday, November 30, to Wednesday, December 13.
The decision to close all checkpoints on the Finnish-Russian border was made, according to Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, due to the ongoing threat of a crisis associated with the influx of third-country citizens into the country. “Russia caused this situation and it can also put an end to it,” Orpo said.
He also noted that in November more than 600 asylum seekers arrived in Finland across the border with Russia.
In turn, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Finland, Mari Rantanen, clarified that applications for asylum in Finland will now be accepted only at airports and seaports. And the representative of the Finnish border service, Matti Sarasmaa, added that railway traffic between Finland and Russia will continue through the Vainikkala railway station.
On November 22, the Finnish government decided to close all checkpoints on the Finnish-Russian border, except for the northernmost “Raya-Jooseppi checkpoint.”
Due to a sharp increase in the flow of migrants, the Finnish authorities closed four checkpoints on the southern section of the border with the Russian Federation on the night of November 18.
Finnish authorities believe that the situation “could not have arisen on its own”: in their opinion, Russia is helping these migrants cross the border and thereby posing a threat to Finland’s national security. In November alone, more than 500 refugees from Iraq, Syria, and Somalia arrived in this country through the eastern border. Moscow speaks of violations of the rights of tens of thousands of citizens of the two countries and calls the statements of the Finnish side “provocative.”
Finland is not the first to decide to close the checkpoint on the border with Russia. In October, Latvia completely closed two checkpoints. And now Norway and Estonia are considering the possibility of closing their borders.