Friday March 01, 2024

Finland keeps Russian border closed until April 14

Published : 08 Feb 2024, 19:06

  DF Report
A border crossing point between Finland and Russia. DF File Photo.

The government on Thursday decided that the border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia will remain closed until April 14, said an official press release.

It will not be possible to submit applications for international protection at any border crossing point on the land border between Finland and Russia.

The government took the decision to temporarily close the border crossing points on Finland's eastern border late last year against the backdrop of influx of asylum seekers from Russia.

The decision will extend the total closure of the eastern border by two months.

Under the current circumstances, it is a necessary and proportionate measure, as instrumentalised migration poses a serious threat to Finland's national security and public order.

Based on the information provided by the authorities, it is likely that instrumentalised migration would resume, if border crossing points were opened at the eastern border.

“We have seen no signs that Russia is changing its behaviour. On the contrary, the information we have received confirms our assessment that Russia is continuing its hybrid operation. We have reason to believe that this situation will continue for some time. There are hundreds if not thousands of migrants who are currently staying close to the border on the Russian side and who are waiting for the chance to cross into Finland,” said Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen.

“Understandably, the continued total closure of the eastern border is distressing especially for people with family on the Russian side. However, the temporary closure of border crossing points is the result of Russia's actions, which require Finland to put national security first,” Rantanen added.

Instrumentalisation of migration is one of Russia's means of exerting pressure and a way to affect the security and social stability of Finland and the EU.

The Ministry of the Interior together with other ministries is currently looking for alternative ways to put an end to this phenomenon.

However, adequate time should be given to conducting a thorough legislative analysis and drawing conclusions from it, added the press release issued by the Ministry of the Interior.

Earlier, the government on January 11 decided that the border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia will remain closed until 11 February 2024.

The government on December 14, 2023 decided to close all land border with Russia.

The government on December 12 decided to resume two border crossing points at eastern border from December 14.

The government on November 28 decided to close the all the border crossing points with Russia from November 30 against the backdrop of influx of the increasing number of asylum seekers.

Earlier, 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.

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

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.