Finland closes all border crossings with Russia
Finland has temporarily closed all border crossings with Russia, which are used for passenger traffic. In a press conference on Finnish television, Prime Minister Peteri Orpo said that by closing the border, the Helsinki government is reacting to the large influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa who have arrived in Finland from Russia in recent months.
Raja-Jooseppi in Lapland north of the Arctic Circle was the last crossing point that Finland had left open after the decision a few days ago to close several border points with Russia. The closure of the border to transit passengers takes effect Thursday evening and is in place for at least two weeks.
Accusations against Moscow of destabilizing Finland
Helsinki accuses Moscow of trying to destabilize Finland by smuggling people. In recent weeks, Finnish border troops have registered more and more people who came from Russia without the necessary documents and applied for asylum in Finland.
According to official figures, over 600 asylum seekers from countries such as Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen entered Finland via Russia in November alone. Previously, less than one person per day entered on average from the Russian-Finland border.
Finland's Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said: "We have evidence that, unlike before, Russian border authorities not only allow people without proper documents to cross the Finnish border, but also actively help them to come to the border area".
Finland leaves open only the Vainikkala railway border station in the southeast of the country to enable the circulation of goods./ dw
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