finland blocks border crossings to stop russian migrants; see details
Finland, a Northern European nation, has blocked four crossings on its border with Russia in order to stop Russian migrants from entering the country. The Finland authorities have also accused Russian authorities of funneling migrants to the border crossing in retaliation for defense cooperation between Finland and the United States.
According to the Finnish Border Guard, the agency responsible for enforcing the security of Finland’s borders, the authorities will erect barriers at these crossing points between Finland and Russia: Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala.
What can Russian migrants expect?
The four border crossing points between Finland and Russia will remain closed for all traffic until February 18 2024 in order to stem an increase in migrants that Finland says has been orchestrated by Russia.
Matti Pitkaniitty, the Head of Int Affairs Unit at Finnish Border Guard, said, “Our aim is to use barrier devices to prevent entry.”
Earlier this week, nearly 300 migrants, mostly from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria, arrived in Finland. Out of 300 asylum seekers, around 100 migrants entered Finland from Russia by Friday alone.
What happened to migrants?
On Friday, a physical confrontation between border guards and migrants took place at Niirala border station. The migrants were trying to enter Finland forcefully. One migrant was stopped at a border crossing with a chemical irritant. Another migrant was pushed back by border guards.
Later on, a group of 30 migrants arrived at the Niirala border station from Russia on foot and on bicycles. The migrants were trying to storm through the entry point between Russia and Finland. However, the authorities prevented them from entering the country.
Will migrants be allowed to enter Finland?
From 18 November 2023, migrants arriving via Russia will only be allowed to hand over their applications to the authorities at two northern border crossings: Salla and Vartius.
Finland has a duty under international treaties and the European Union (EU) law to allow migrants and asylum seekers to seek protection.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “Russia’s instrumentalisation of migrants is shameful.”