In response to escalating concerns over national public order and security, the Finnish Government has taken the decision to close three additional border crossing points with Russia.
Effective November 24, the Kuusamo, Salla, and Vartius crossings will be shut down for all individuals, including Finnish citizens, and this measure will remain in effect until December 23, 2023. This decision follows the recent closure of the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra, and Niirala border crossings, leaving only the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing point open.
The Finnish Ministry of Interior stated that this centralization of border crossings is a response to an increase in instrumentalized migration from Russia. The government has been closely monitoring the situation, noting heightened traffic despite existing restrictions and expressing concerns about external factors facilitating irregular entry into Finland.
Observations by the Finnish Border Guard reveal a change in procedures by Russian authorities, allowing unauthorized entries into Finland. Since August of this year, approximately 700 nationals from third countries have arrived in Finland without valid visas, subsequently applying for asylum. The Ministry of Interior emphasized the involvement of foreign authorities and other actors in facilitating these entries, characterizing the situation as international crime.
"It is clear that foreign authorities and other actors have played a role in facilitating the entry of persons crossing the border into Finland. The Russian authorities are allowing this to happen, which is a change from their earlier procedures. The situation also involves international crime," stated the Finnish Ministry of Interior.
With the aim of mitigating potential threats, the Government mandated that all crossings at the eastern border between Finland and Russia must now use only the Raja-Jooseppi crossing point. Finnish citizens are also required to utilize this crossing point when traveling to Russia and vice versa. Furthermore, international protection applications will exclusively be accepted at the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing point.
This move reflects Finland's proactive measures to safeguard public order and security amid changing dynamics at its eastern border, emphasizing the need for centralization and heightened vigilance in the face of evolving migration patterns and security challenges.
By fLEXI tEAM