Saturday May 25, 2024

Finland temporarily closes entire land border with Russia

Published : 28 Nov 2023, 19:17

Updated : 28 Nov 2023, 20:22

  DF Report
Prime Minister Petteri Orpo ( Middle), Interior Minister Mari Rantanen (right) and the Border and Coast Guard Division Chief, Major General Matti Sarasmaa spoke at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Finnish government by Lauri Heikkinen.

The government on Tuesday decided to close the border crossing point of Raja-Jooseppi, the lone operative border crossing point with Russia at this moment against the backdrop of influx of the increasing number of asylum seekers.

The border will remain closed from early Thursday night (Midnight between Wednesday and Thursday) to December 13, said the Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Border and Coast Guard Division Chief at a press conference on Tuesday evening.

After closure of the Raja-Jooseppi there will be no border crossing point on the land border between Finland and Russia until December 13.

It will not be possible to submit applications for international protection at any border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia. The government took the decision on this new restriction at an extraordinary session.

“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,” said Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.

“In the current situation, it is necessary to close the entire eastern border. We have taken this decision to protect Finland's national security against this Russian hybrid operation,” said Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen.

Entry into Finland at the eastern border has continued despite earlier restrictions.

According to the assessment of the Government and Finnish authorities, instrumentalised migration and the risk of its escalation pose a serious threat to national security and public order.

Since the beginning of August, about 1,000 third-country nationals have arrived in Finland without a visa via the border crossing points at the eastern border. Most of them have applied for asylum in Finland.

In the present situation, the government has concluded that these are very exceptional circumstances as referred to in the statement of the Constitutional Law Committee.

In such very exceptional circumstances, the short-term total closure of the eastern border is a necessary and proportionate measure to put an end to this phenomenon and to limit the serious consequences that it has for national security and public order.

As of 30 November 2023, it will no longer be possible to apply for international protection at the border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia.

At Finland's external borders, it will only be possible to apply for international protection at open border crossing points for air and maritime traffic.

Finland closed three more border crossing points- Kuusamo, Salla and Vartius- at the eastern border early November 24.

​The government took the decision on November 22.

Earlier on November 18, Finland closed four border crossing points- at Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala at eastern border.

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 will be taken following the rapid increase in illegal entry at the eastern border.

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.