Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Finland will close its border again. re with Russia

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Finnish police vehicles are seen parked at the reopened Vaalimaa border checkpoint between the Finland and Russia, in Virolahti, on the Finnish side, December 14, 2023.

Agence France-Presse

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Finland announced Thursday to close again its entire border with Russia, a few hours after reopening two border crossings, accusing Moscow of orchestrating a migration crisis.

No crossing of any kind will be allowed through the border, Interior Minister Mari Rantanen said at a press conference.

This decision will be effective from Friday 8 p.m. local time until January 14, she added.

Helsinki accuses Moscow of deliberately letting these migrants pass, denouncing a hybrid attack aimed at destabilizing Finland. Accusations rejected by the Kremlin.

Finland decided on Tuesday to reopen part of its border with Russia to check if there was a change for the better, warning that it could reverse its decision if instrumentalized migration continued, according to the Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.

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The two border crossings reopened Thursday at midnight.

At least 40 people crossed the border seeking asylum in one day alone, Finnish border guards reported.

Which led the Finnish government to immediately make an about-face.

The number of migrants has increased rapidly and the phenomenon has accelerated faster than expected, insisted Ms. Rantanen, estimating that it should ;was a threat to national security.

Nearly 1,000 asylum seekers, including from Somalia, Germany Iraq and Yemen, have presented themselves at the border crossings between the two countries since the beginning of August, according to the Finnish authorities.

This is an organized activity, the Finnish Prime Minister emphasized at the end of November regarding this increase.

Finland is required by international law to ensure that migrants can apply for asylum, and this right cannot be limited in exceptional circumstances, according to Finnish legal experts .

Earlier on Thursday, Arthur Parfentchikov, the governor of Karelia, a Russian region bordering Finland, indicated that there were groups of migrants among people who wish to cross the border.

Our law enforcement officers check their documents. People whose passports have been checked and found to be non-compliant are taken to police stations […] Others are allowed to pass through the checkpoint in small groups, he said.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">For Helsinki, on the other hand, this is a sign that the Russian authorities are continuing their hybrid operation against Finland, Ms. Rantanen argued at a press conference.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Russian coast guards are pushing migrants towards the border, Finnish authorities assure.

Finnish authorities are starting to come up with clumsy excuses, stoking Russophobic sentiments.

A quote from Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

Relations between the two neighbors, who share a 1,340-kilometer-long border, have improved considerably deteriorated since February 2022 and the Russian offensive in Ukraine, an attack which led Finland, worried about its security, to join NATO in April 2023.

Moscow then promised to take countermeasures after this accession.

Anticipating that its neighbor could use migrants as a means political pressure, Finland began building a 200-kilometer fence along its Russian border in February.

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