Finland's Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, affirmed the government's decision to keep the entire border with Russia closed in response to the ongoing migrant crisis. In an exclusive interview with the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), Orpo emphasized that the border closure would persist as long as Russia continues to direct migrants towards Finland's borders. The Prime Minister underscored the critical importance of border security and the need for measures to protect it. Finland accuses Russian authorities of facilitating the movement of migrants towards its territory, including transportation assistance.
The decision to extend the border closure will be determined in the coming days, with the current closure set to expire on January 14. Finland initially closed all its borders, except for the Raja-Jooseppi crossing, in November 2023 to address irregular migration. However, due to an influx of migrants at Raja-Jooseppi, it was also closed on November 30. Approximately 900 asylum seekers from various countries, including Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, reached Finland from Russia in November.
Prime Minister Orpo highlighted the instrumentalization of migration by Russia and the challenges posed by migrants being guided to the Finnish border. In response to the crisis, Finland reopened the Vaalimaa and Niirala border crossing points on December 14. However, the Niirala border crossing experienced a surge in arrivals, reaching 93 irregular migrants on a single day, prompting its closure. Orpo warned that the border closures could be reinstated if the situation deteriorates.
Mari Rantanen, Finland's Minister of Interior, accused Russia of using migrants to destabilize the country, describing it as part of Russia's hybrid operation against Finland. As of October 2023, Finland has received a total of 3,568 asylum applications and 17,807 applications for temporary protection. The government remains vigilant in addressing the migrant crisis and safeguarding national security.
The ongoing tensions at the border between Finland and Russia underscore the broader geopolitical challenges in managing migration flows and maintaining border security in the region. The decisions taken by Finland reflect the complexities of dealing with hybrid threats and the need for coordinated responses to ensure the well-being and security of nations.
By fLEXI tEAM