Finland announced this Tuesday that, as of Wednesday night, his border with Russia will remain completely closed for the passage of people, until December 13. This includes the cancellation of eight steps along the 1,340 kilometers that the border runs.
The decision, explained the Executive, responds to a striking increase of travelers who enter the country to request asyluma maneuver – they say – promoted by the Kremlin.
“These are activities of Russian interference and that is something we do not accept,” Prime Minister Petteri Orpo declared with the announcement, while describing the measure as “necessary and proportionate.”
Since last week, seven of the eight crossings in Finland have been closed in the first attempt to contain this flow. However, now, the Raja-Jooseppi – the northernmost – will also stop functioning and only ports and airports will remain as legitimate means. Freight trains will continue to operate normally.
“It is a organized activity, not a real emergency. The ease with which the migrants found their way to the remote Raja-Jooseppi border crossing is also proof of this,” added Orpo and responded when asked about the harsh conditions that those who reach this limit will have to face and are rejected that “we trust the judgment of the Border Guard and its ability to respond to different situations.”
For her part, Interior Minister Mari Rantenen said that “the issue is not the number of refugees arriving but the reasons behind their arrival.”
Only in November, about 900 People from Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen arrived in Finland via Russia in search of asylum, the Border Guard reported. This number, which was previously limited to a few travelers, led Helsinki to suspect an operation by Moscow to send these subjects to their country in retaliation for adhering to the NATO and increase your attendance Ukraine.
Even the day before, they claimed to have intelligence information about the aid that the Russian authorities provide to these people and that there is also another group on the way from Russia.
“Finland is the target of a Russian hybrid operation“said Mari Rantanen, of the far-right True Finns party, and explained that the decision is not a question of asylum or immigration policies but of national security.
“Russia has caused this situation and can also put an end to it,” the Prime Minister concluded.
The Kremlin, for its part, denied these accusations and rejected any type of link with the travelers. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushki argued that Finland’s decision was “simply irrational,” joined by Duma President Viacheslav Volodin, who said that “this decision will cost the Finns about $3 billion.” euros”.
The relationship between Moscow and Helsinki began to deteriorate in February 2022, when the war over Ukraine began, and ended up falling apart in April of this year with Finland’s formal accession to NATO.
This, in addition to ensuring greater defense of the territory by all member states, implies sending assistance to kyiv, along with that of other Western allies. That is why Russia warned, months ago, of “countermeasures.”
(With information from Reuters, EFE and AFP)