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Finland completely shuts down border with Russia | War in Ukraine

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The Raja-Jooseppi border crossing, which separates Russia and Finland in the Finnish Arctic, will be closed until December 13.

Agence France-Presse

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Finland will close its last border post still open with Russia during the night from Wednesday to Thursday. She accuses Moscow of orchestrating a “hybrid attack” by sending undocumented migrants to the border.

Nearly 1,000 undocumented asylum seekers, including from Somalia, Iraq and Yemen, have presented themselves since the beginning of August at the 1,340-kilometer border separating the two countries, according to Finnish authorities.

The phenomenon observed in recent weeks at the border must stop, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on Tuesday, noting that the instrumentalized migration from of Russia continued.

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The Finnish authorities announced on Tuesday the closure of the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing. Coast and Border Guard Division Chief Major General Matti Sarasmaa (left), Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (center) and Interior Minister Mari Rantanen (right) held a press conference .

Helsinki had closed four of its eight crossing points with Russia in mid-November, before restricting passage to a single border post, the northernmost of the country in the Arctic zone, last week.

Finland is the target of a Russian hybrid operation. This is a matter of national security.

A quote from Mari Rantanen, Minister of the Interior of Finland

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The Raja-Jooseppi border post will remain closed until December 13, she said.

Asylum seekers will have to request protection at border crossing points open for air and maritime traffic, i.e. ports and airports, according to a government press release.

This influx of migrants is an organized activity, not a real emergency, according to the prime minister.

The ease with which migrants reached the remote border crossing of Raja-Jooseppi is proof of that, he added. arrivals that is in question, but the phenomenon itself, said Mr. Orpo.

Sometimes, decisions are simply irrational, reacted Alexander Grouchko, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, quoted by Russian agencies.

Relations between both neighbors have deteriorated significantly since February 2022 and the Russian offensive in Ukraine, an attack that led Finland to join NATO in April 2023.

Moscow then promised to take countermeasures after this accession.

As of last week, the Finnish government had considered closing its border, but the measure was then deemed disproportionate by the authority responsible for monitoring the legality of government measures.

The border can be closed completely in exceptional circumstances, but this closure must be proportionate and asylum seekers must be able to submit their application.

This closure is necessary and proportionate, assured the government in its press release.

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Nearly 1,000 migrants have presented themselves since the beginning of August at the Russian border to cross to Finland since the month of August. (File photo)

Asked about the care of migrants who would be left in the cold in front of closed border crossings, Mr. Orpo replied that without the change in policy of the Russian authorities, this phenomenon would not exist.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">We have confidence in the judgment of the border guards and their ability to respond to different situations, he said.

The Interior Minister stressed that migrants had the responsibility to decide whether or not to come to the border.

Our message is clear. Don't come. The border is closed.

A quote from Mari Rantanen, Minister of the Interior of Finland

Border guards stressed that migratory pressure had until then been exerted at border posts and not along the rest of the border, in uninhabited areas.

Anticipating Moscow's recourse to migratory pressure, Finland began building a vast fence over 200 kilometers, but which was only completed over three kilometers.

M. Orpo said he hoped the situation with Russia would normalize as quickly as possible.

It's in everyone's interest, including Russia, he added.

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