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Finland closes game of its border with Russia | War in Ukraine

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The Nuijamaa crossing point on the border of Finland and Russia will be closed from midnight on Friday until until February 18.

Agence France-Presse

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Finland will close in the night from Friday to Saturday half of its border crossing points with Russia, accusing Moscow of trying to destabilize the country by letting undocumented migrants cross the border.

Finland, which shares a 1,340 km border with Russia, has seen an influx of visa-free migrants from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Iraq, Somalia and Yemen, since the end of August. , according to its border guards.

The government has taken the decision to close the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala crossing points, said Thursday Interior Minister Mari Rantanen during a press conference.

This closure of the four points on the southeastern border will be in effect at midnight, during the night of Friday to Saturday, with four crossings remaining open further north. It will last until February 18, 2024, with the study of asylum applications being concentrated in two centers.

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The Finnish government warned on Tuesday that it was considering closing this border, suspecting Moscow of trying to destabilize the country which joined the EU in April ;NATO.

We have prepared for different kinds of actions, malicious acts on the part of Russia, so the situation is not a surprise, said Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.

We want this phenomenon to stop, we want border activity to return to normal, he added.

If the situation spreads to other crossing points and becomes more difficult, we will take the necessary measures.

A quote from Petteri Orpo, Prime Minister of Finland

This negative development of events will naturally lead to retaliatory measures, responded the Russian Foreign Ministry.

It is about the emergence of new fault lines in Europe which do not resolve anything, but raise new questions, problematic questions, said its spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, at the Tass agency.

For Henri Vanhanen, researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Finland sends the message that there is a political will to take measures additional if necessary […] an important message addressed to Russia.

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The flag of Finland was raised alongside those of the 30 other members of the Alliance, of which Canada is one of founding members, in April 2023. (Archive photo)

The Kremlin vowed in April to take countermeasures after Finland joined NATO, calling the expansion of the Western alliance an attack on the country's security. Russia.

The range of these countermeasures is limited only by the imagination, said the #x27;AFP Mr. Vanhanen, citing disinformation actions, threats of environmental disasters or obstacles to freedom of movement in the Baltic Sea.

These types of malicious actions, which remain below the threshold of war, are applied where they work, according to the expert.

Some 280 asylum seekers have presented themselves at the Russian-Finnish border since September, according to border guards, but the numbers are not the problem, noted the Minister of the Interior.

This is not a normal question about asylum policy. This is a case where we have indications and information that people are being manipulated into entering Finland, she stressed.

Relations between the two neighbors have deteriorated considerably since February 2022 and the Russian offensive in Ukraine, an attack which led Finland, worried about its own security, to join NATO.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The Alliance is carefully monitoring the situation at the border, assured NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. We must exchange information and then take necessary actions if necessary, he said during a press conference with the Latvian president.

Finland unveiled a plan for a vast fence along 200 km of its border at the end of 2022.

On Tuesday, the Kremlin said it deeply regretted the proposed border. ;Helsinki to close their common border.

Neighboring Norway, which has a border post with Russia in the Far North, is x27;is said to be ready, through its Minister of Justice Emilie Enger Mehl, to close its border if necessary, on short notice. We do not observe abnormal traffic, the minister told the Norwegian agency NTB.

During the migration crisis of 2015, thousands of visa-free migrants crossed the Russian-Norwegian border by bicycle. An influx seen by specialists as an attempt at destabilization, while, on the Russian side, it is difficult to enter the border area, closely guarded by the Russian security services (FSB), without authorization.


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