Frontex to Guard Finland’s Eastern Border At Least Until Summer, Authorities Decide

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Frontex will extend its two-month period of support to assist the Finnish Border Guard along the country’s eastern border in an effort to control border crossings at this route.

According to RAJA, the Finnish Border Guard, Frontex had deployed 50 border guards and other employees to help in monitoring the eastern border since November, while the support period of two months was supposed to end on January 24, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Based on the latest announcement, a third of them will remain in the country at least until next summer.

In addition, support will now be aimed at the Border Guard units based in Southeast Finland, Kainuu, and North Karelia, as well as the technical equipment and document experts working on the eastern border and at Helsinki Airport.

The Border Guard has prepared, if necessary, to quickly increase the amount of personnel and equipment support in cooperation with Frontex if the situation of unauthorized border crossings on our eastern border changes significantly in the coming weeks and months.

RAJA, Finnish Border Guard

Earlier this year, the government decided to keep borders with Russia shut, at least until February, as, according to them, Russia continued to organise instrumentalised immigration to the Finnish border.

While the measures at the border with Russia are in place, Finland will not accept applicants for international protection at its eastern border. Instead, applicants for international protection can submit their requests only at border crossing points where entry and exit are permitted.

The border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia will remain closed until 11 February 2024. It will not be possible to submit applications for international protection at any border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia.

Finnish Ministry of Interior

According to data by Frontex, the total number of border crossings on this route in November 2023 was 355, down from 536 recorded at the same time in the previous year. The main countries of origin for those crossing the border were Ukraine (82.8 per cent), Iran (6.4 per cent), and Syria (2.8 per cent).

Although the number of Ukrainian nationals crossing the border into Finland has decreased – from representing 91.7 per cent of all border crossings in 2022 to 82.8 per cent of the total in 2023, it remains the main source of immigrants, especially since March 2022.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine happened in February 2022, the number of Ukrainian nationals at the Eastern border has peaked.

From 92 border crossings in February, it rose to 1,035 in the following month. While a total of 11,771 border crossings were recorded in 2022 and 2023 in the Eastern Borders Route – 80.3 per cent or 9,460 of those originate in Ukraine.

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