Helsinki, Nov 28 (EFE). – The Finnish government announced Tuesday the total closure of its border with Russia starting Thursday to prevent the continued arrival of refugees from third countries, a measure that will be in effect until Dec. 13.
Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said at a press conference that the closure of the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing, the only one of eight that remained open, would be effective immediately.
“The government has decided to close the entire eastern border,” Orpo told reporters, saying the country was facing an “exceptional” situation.
“We don’t accept any attempt to undermine our national security,” he added.
Orpo also said there was Russian interference in the increase in migration.
The statement comes after Finnish Foreign Minister Valtonen recently said Russia was “instrumentalizing migrants” as part of its “hybrid warfare.”
These actions are believed to be Russian retaliation for Finland’s NATO membership, which was prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Once the border closure goes into effect, it will no longer be possible to apply for asylum at the land border with Russia, which at 1,340 kilometers (832 miles) is the longest in the European Union, it will only be possible at the Nordic country’s international ports and airports.
“Russia has provoked this situation and can also put an end to it,” the Finnish prime minister said.
According to migration authorities, some 900 third-country asylum seekers arrived in Finland from Russia in November alone, thirty times more than usual, despite the closure of seven of the eight border crossing points in the last two weeks.
The flow has slowed considerably since Friday, when all but the northernmost and most remote border crossing were closed, although Finnish authorities believe that Moscow has not stopped exploiting migration.
According to the interior Minister Mari Rantanen, for Finland the problem is not the number of refugees arriving, but the motives behind their arrival.
Rantanen, of the far-right True Finns party,also posted on X a few days ago that “the total closure of the border was not a question of asylum or immigration policy, but of national security.”
Rantanen reiterated and assured that the Finnish executive is prepared for Moscow to continue and even expand its external interference, despite the closure of the common border. EFE