Finland Preparing to Completely Close Border with Russia

Monday, 20 November 2023

Finnish authorities may close the remaining checkpoints still operating on the land border with Russia on the night of 21-22 November 2023, because of Russia's use of illegal migrants as weapons.

As reported by IltaLehti, sources said that the government of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo may decide on Monday that all checkpoints on the land border with Russia will be closed on the night of 21-22 November 2023.

Last Thursday, Finland decided to close the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala border crossings due to a surge in illegal migration. They have been closed to traffic since Saturday.

At the same time, Finland has decided that asylum applications will be accepted only at the Vartius and Salla border crossings.

Earlier, Helsinki had stated that Russians could transport illegal asylum seekers to Kostomuksha, near the Vartius border crossing. Later, it became known that this had indeed happened.

In this case, the Finnish government decided to prepare for the possibility of closing the entire eastern border so that Finland could send a strong message to Russia that it would not accept the use of migration as a means of pressure.

According to available intelligence data, the government has assessed that the Russian authorities are involved in transporting illegal asylum seekers to the Finnish border.

In the future, asylum applications will be available at Helsinki-Vantaan Airport.

IltaLehti said the Finnish authorities had concluded that the right to apply for asylum guaranteed by international agreements had lost its relevance on the eastern border due to Russia's actions.

Finland should have the right to return irregular asylum seekers to Russia, which has accepted them on its territory and most of whom had a residence permit in Russia.

However, the Finnish government believes it is unlikely that Russia will take even one person back.

Finnish border guards previously reported that in recent months, an exceptionally large number of people without entry documents had tried to enter Finland through checkpoints on the southeastern border.

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