Wednesday November 29, 2023

Bicycles pile hinder traffic

Asylum seekers influx from Russia continues at Vartius border

Published : 20 Nov 2023, 04:15

Updated : 20 Nov 2023, 04:25

  DF Report
Bicycles piled at the Finland-Russia Border. Photo: Finnish Border Guard.

Nineteen asylum seekers arrived at the Vartius border crossing point from Russia on Sunday, the following day of closure of the four border crossing points at eastern border.

“Today (Sunday) 19 asylum seekers arrived to Vartius Border Crossing Point. Heavy traffic and jamming, partially due to bicycles left at borderline,” Matti Pitkäniitty, Head of International Affairs Unit of Finnish Border Guard wrote in a post in social media platform X late Sunday night.

Pitkäniitty, however, said that other districts were calmer.

Meanwhile, the border was temporarily closed at Vartius on Sunday morning.

“Traffic in Vartius border crossing point has been temporarily stopped. Bicycles left on border line hinder traffic. Finnish authorities cannot go to Russia to remove bikes,” he wrote in another post earlier on the day.

Meanwhile, on Saturday evening two persons crossed the green border (area outside border crossing points) illegally in Southeast Finland.

Fewer number of asylum seekers entered into Finland from Russia after closure of the four border crossing points early Saturday night.

Finland closed border crossing points at Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala of eastern border at midnight for the next three months. Now border crossing points with Russia remain open at Vartius, Kuusamo, Salla and Raja-Jooseppi.

The government on November 16, decided to close part of Finland's eastern border with Russia.

The government on November 15 at a meeting decided that measures to ensure border security following the rapid increase in illegal entry at the eastern border will be taken on Thursday.

Earlier on November 14, the Ministry of the Interior said, the government may decide to restrict cross-border traffic or to close border crossing points at eastern border with Russia against the backdrop of the influx of increasing number of asylum seekers.