Wednesday November 29, 2023
Further action likely as asylum seekers start to arrive at Salla border
Published : 21 Nov 2023, 03:39
Updated : 21 Nov 2023, 03:44
Asylum seekers started to arrive in Finland through Salla border crossing point from Russia for the first time on Monday, said the Lapland Border Guard.
“35 asylum seekers arrived to Salla border crossing point in Lapland. These were first arrivals in High North, above the Arctic Circle,” Matti Pitkäniitty, Head of International Affairs Unit of Finnish Border Guard wrote in a post in social media platform X late Monday night.
Meanwhile, the influx of asylum seekers at the Vartius border crossing point continued and 16 people arrived on Monday. On Sunday, 19 asylum seekers arrived through Vartius Border Crossing Point.
The Lapland Border Guard said that the authority was investigating the situation following the arrival of asylum seekers at Salla border.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo on Monday visited the Vartius border crossing point.
"Our task is to ensure that the Border Guard and other authorities have all the tools at their disposal to calm the situation and protect Finland's borders and border security," he said.
The Head of the Border Guard Pasi Kostamovaara confirmed the border situation at the border is under control.
“We are prepared for changes in the situation, and several different operating options are being planned," he said.
Meanwhile, the Border Guard held the Russian authority responsible for allowing undocumented people to arrive in Finland.
”The Russian authorities have been acting exceptionally and letting people, who do not have the required travel documents, to Finland borders. We also have many indications that this activity is organized and assisted. We do not accept this and if necessary, we will take further action," said the Border Guard in a post in social media platform X.
Meanwhile, the Russian authority rejected Finland's accusations against Russian border guards of allowing undocumented asylum seekers to cross the Finnish border, reported Xinhua.
"We reject such accusations," said Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a statement on Monday.
Moscow deeply regrets Finland's decision to close four border crossings with Russia, and any potential plans to close all remaining checkpoints, Peskov said.
"This is deeply regrettable, because we had long-standing, very good relations with Finland, which were pragmatic, and based on mutual trust," Peskov said.
Peskov said that it would be difficult for Russia to influence Finland's decision, because of the lack of dialogue between the two countries.
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 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.