Finland’s Prime Minister Says Border With Russia Will Remain Closed

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The Finnish government remains steady in its decision to keep the entire border with Russia closed, the countryโ€™s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo has confirmed in an exclusive interview with the Finnish Broadcasting Company โ€“ Yle.

Throughout the interview, the Prime Minister has pointed out that the border closure cannot be lifted, as long as Russia continues to push migrants towards Finlandโ€™s borders, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Judging by the information that I have at the moment, nothing has changed in Russia.

Finnish PM Petteri Orpo

He also noted that border security is a critical issue for Finland, and appropriate measures must be taken in order to protect it. The decision on the further extension of border closure will be taken in the next few days. The same were set to expire next Sunday, on January 14.

Finland blames the Russian authorities for the recent wave of migrants that have reached its borders from Russia, claiming that the latter is helping migrants to reach the Finnish territory by even transporting them.

In November 2023, the country had closed all of its borders but one โ€“ the Raja-Jooseppi โ€“ in a bid to halt irregular migration. Soon the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing point was also closed on November 30 due to an influx of migrants at this point following the closure of other border points.

Around 900 asylum seekers, mainly from Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen reached Finland from Russia in November, according to the Finnish Border Guard (RAIA).

Prime Minister Orpo had said at the time that the measures would help curb the escalating challenges posed by instrumentalised migration by Russia.

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.

Finnish PM Petteri Orpo

On December 14, the Vaalimaa and Niirala border crossing points were reopenedwith the PM warning that they would be closed again if the situation starts deteriorating, which eventually happened.

According to RAIA, 93 irregular migrants reached Finland through the Niirala border crossing on December 14 alone, marking the highest number of people ever reaching this border point in a single day.

The Minister of Interior of Finland, Mari Rantanen, at the time, accused Russia of continuing to use migrants to destabilise the bloc.

This is a sign that the Russian authorities are continuing their hybrid operation against Finland. This is something that Finland will not tolerate.

Minister of Interior of Finland, Mari Rantanen

As of October 2023, a total of 3,568 asylum applications and 17,807 applications for temporary protection have been filed with the Finnish authorities. In 2022, the total number of asylum applications reached 5,827, while the country received another 47,302 applications for temporary protection, mainly related to the war in Ukraine.

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