Finland closes passenger border crossings with Russia

Finland has temporarily closed all but one of its eight passenger crossings to Russia in response to an unusually high inflow of migrants for which the Nordic country accuses Moscow.

More than 700 migrants from nations such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria, have in the past couple of weeks entered Finland via Russia. Helsinki says Russia is funneling migrants to the border, a charge the Kremlin has denied.

Having last week closed four border stations, Finland overnight closed all remaining passenger crossings except its northernmost one, Raja-Jooseppi located high north in the Arctic region, for a month.

 Russia announced tightened security in its northern Murmansk region after Finland said it would close all but one border crossing between the two countries. Helsinki said on November 22, 2023 the move follows a surge in attempted crossings by migrants seeking asylum in the EU country -- which Finland says is a destabilisation ploy by Russia.
Migrants are seen at the international border crossing at Salla, northern Finland, on Thursday.Jussi Nukari / AFP – Getty Images

Raja-Jooseppi opened its gates for traffic this morning and will continue to accept asylum applications during its four daily opening hours, the Finnish Border Guard said.

No migrants arrived overnight outside opening hours, it added.

The Border Guard is stepping up patrolling along the length of its 833-mile frontier with Russia.

It will get additional resources for the task from the European Union’s border agency Frontex, which said on Thursday it would deploy 50 border guard officers and other staff to Finland along with equipment such as patrol cars to bolster control activities.


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