Finland Completely Closes Its Border with Russia for Two Weeks

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Finland has decided to temporarily close the last functioning checkpoint on the Russian border. The decision will come into force at midnight from 29 to 30 November and will be valid until 13 December.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said the government has decided to close all border crossing points with Russia, in particular the Raya-Jooseppi checkpoint in Lapland, which remained operational at the time.

In the near future, it will only be possible to apply for asylum at ports and airports.

The decision will not affect rail freight transport between Russia and Finland.

The prime minister emphasised that the reason for the decision was Russia's attempt to exert influence on Finland, which is unacceptable for Helsinki.

Only a few migrants applied for asylum at the Raya-Jooseppi checkpoint on Monday, and none on Tuesday. However, Petteri Orpo said Helsinki had not made the decision based on numbers, but following a general assessment of the situation.

From mid-November onwards, significantly more people without documents entitling them to enter EU territory began to arrive at checkpoints on the Finnish-Russian border. Previously, Russian border guards would not have allowed such travellers to leave.

Finland closed all its checkpoints on the border with Russia, except for one in Lapland. The Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala border crossings have been closed to traffic since Saturday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Moscow was directly involved in the appearance of an increasing number of asylum seekers at the Finnish border.

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