On Wednesday afternoon, the message came from Finnish Prime Minister Petri Orpo: Several border crossings into Russia will be closed.
The actions we are taking are bold and extraordinary. “We want to send a strong message that we want to end this phenomenon,” Orbaugh says.
This applies to Valima, Noigama, Imatra and Nirala, Reuters reported. It has been closed to limit the number of asylum seekers entering the country from Russia.
The closure will continue until February 18, 2024.
As a result, asylum applications from people in Russia are only received through two northern border crossings: Sala and Vartius.
The newspaper wrote that at the other two crossings, which will remain open, an asylum application cannot be submitted Helsingin Sanomat.
Russia ‘deeply upset’
– We will end the restrictions if illegal immigration stops, says Interior Minister Marie Rantanen, according to Reuters.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that Russia is “not obligated” to help Finland in “liquidating migrants.”
This came after the Finnish authorities announced that there would be measures in response to this development.
– Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on the same day: “We are very upset by the fact that the Finnish authorities have deliberately chosen to move away from what was supposed to be a good relationship.” According to the Moscow Times newspaper.
An increase in the number of illegal immigrants
More and more asylum seekers from Russia are coming to Finland, many of them without valid documents, according to the Finnish Border Management Authority.
Late Wednesday evening, there were 75 asylum seekers at the Lappeenranta border crossing in the southeast of the country. They say Tuesday was 55, and Monday was 39.
That’s 10 more people a day than usual, and most of them did not have the documents they needed to cross, a border guard told NRK.
He requested that his name not be mentioned.
– The number of asylum seekers on this route on the eastern border between Finland and Russia is usually very low. We talk about a few individuals every now and then.
– There is a clear increase, not only in the number, but also in the type of people coming.
The watch indicates that it relates to both men and women from African and Middle Eastern countries.
– It is clear that it is an illegal immigration phenomenon. The reason behind this is that Russian border authorities act differently, which made this possible.
– But compared to immigration numbers from Europe, they are still very low. The situation is under control.
“Revenge” for the agreement with the United States
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said on Wednesday that increasing the number of border crossings is an “act of revenge” on the part of Russia. The Guardian reports.
With this, Niinisto promised to take “very clear action” against him The government calls For committing an “international crime” against Finland.
This could mean the closure of several border stations, the Associated Press news agency reported on Tuesday, citing Niinisto and Rantanen.
Finnish and Russian border authorities have been cooperating for years with each side to prevent people without visas or passports from trying to cross into the neighboring country.
Rantanen and Prime Minister Urbo say they are ready to take further decisions if closing the borders is not enough.
According to Finland’s Border Guard Act, the government can close border crossings or limit the number of people crossing them if necessary, Send Helsingin Sanomat on.
This may be to combat a serious threat to public order or national security. Transition points cannot be closed for longer than is absolutely necessary.
– He obviously received help
Tormod Heyer is Professor of Military Strategy and Operations at the Armed Forces Staff College. The increase in the number of asylum seekers is explained in a very similar way to what the Finnish authorities did.
– Along the entire Russian border there is a safety zone towards Finland and Norway. This means that refugees cannot easily enter the border freely, he tells NRK.
– When refugees reach the border, it is clear that they receive assistance from security authorities on the Russian side.
He says this will not be the first time Russia has used refugees to put pressure on Western countries.
Directing refugee trauma towards Europe is part of what we often call Russian hybrid therapy.
The purpose of this is to create a state of dissatisfaction or polarization among people in Western countries, thus contributing to the government becoming less stable.
However, Heyer believes that the fact that Finland has come up with this answer is something new.
After the invasion of Ukraine last year, the transatlantic security community supported them and received US security guarantees through the NATO operation.
Finland is traditionally a country with a very balanced relationship with Russia where care has been taken not to provoke unnecessary Russian counter-reactions.
The war in Ukraine may also have greatly revealed that the only language that Russia today respects and understands is the language of force. There is one thing Finland is good at communicating.
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