In a decisive move to protect its national security interests, Finland has announced the closure of the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing point with Russia. This measure, effective from midnight on November 30, is part of a broader decision to shut down all land border crossing points between Finland and Russia until December 13. The announcement comes in the wake of growing apprehensions about Russia's alleged involvement in facilitating the movement of individuals to the Finnish border, especially during harsh winter conditions.
The closure of the Raja-Jooseppi crossing follows an extraordinary session held on November 28, during which the Finnish government deliberated on the escalating challenges posed by what they term as "instrumentalized migration." Prime Minister Petteri Orpo underscored the government's determination to address the phenomenon of people being guided to the Finnish border under challenging circumstances. He stated, "Russia is enabling the instrumentalisation of people and guiding them to the Finnish border in harsh winter conditions. Finland is determined to put an end to this phenomenon."
The comprehensive decision to close the entire eastern border is a reflection of the gravity of the situation and its direct impact on national security, as highlighted by Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen. She emphasized that the move was deemed necessary to counter what Finland perceives as a Russian hybrid operation, demonstrating the government's commitment to proactively safeguarding the country's security interests.
Starting December 1, applications for international protection will cease to be accepted at land border crossing points between Finland and Russia. Instead, individuals seeking protection will be directed to use designated open border crossing points catering to air and maritime traffic, a measure aimed at streamlining the process and enhancing security protocols.
Despite previous restrictions, data from the Finnish Ministry of Interior revealed persistent entry into Finland at the eastern border, with nearly 1,000 third-country nationals arriving without valid visas since August. The majority of these individuals have sought asylum in Finland, prompting the government to declare these circumstances as exceptional, further underscoring the urgency of the situation.
The closure not only impacts incoming foreign nationals but also affects Finnish citizens, who are now required to utilize open border crossing points. In response to the evolving challenges at the eastern border, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has decided to deploy 50 border guard officers, additional personnel, and a fleet of patrol cars to Finland. This deployment signifies a collaborative effort to ensure the safety and security of Finland's borders amid the evolving complexities of migration dynamics and geopolitical considerations.
In summary, Finland's decision to close the eastern border is a multifaceted response, addressing immediate security concerns, countering instrumentalized migration, and demonstrating a proactive stance in maintaining control and security in the face of complex geopolitical dynamics.
By fLEXI tEAM