Finland Tightens Border Amid Migration Surge

To better restrict an inflow of migrants, border guards and troops from Finland have started building barriers at several crossing sites along the country’s vast border with Russia.

Now, only one Arctic crossing site is available to refugees seeking asylum after Finland announced the closure of three others. The number of undocumented migrants arriving in Finland in November was 600, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, compared to a few hundred in September and October. Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Kenyans, Moroccans, and Somalis are among the incoming migrants.

Rejecting assertions by Finnish authorities that Russia has instigated the migrant surge at the border as retaliation for Finland’s NATO membership, the Kremlin has expressed dismay over the closure of the crossings. The district keeps an eye on two of Finland’s nine border crossing sites along the 830-mile-long border with Russia, which is both the external frontier of the European Union and the northeastern flank of NATO.

Suspicion of wrongdoing by Russian border agents led the Finnish government to shut down four heavily used crossings in southern Finland last week. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told reporters late Wednesday that the government would shut down three further border points: Vartius, Kuusamo, and Salla, leaving open just Raja-Jooseppi, the northernmost checkpoint between Finland and Russia.

Following the government’s decision to block the border with its eastern neighbor in response to increasing political tensions, NATO member Finland closed that last remaining border crossing with Russia. On Wednesday at 2 p.m., the Raja-Jooseppi crossing point in Finland’s Arctic Lapland area closed as per the checkpoint’s usual November timetable.

Russian authorities are prepared to collaborate with their Finnish counterparts to resolve the border dispute, according to Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Russian foreign ministry formally protested the closing of the border crossings that were utilized the most by summoning the Finnish ambassador to Moscow on Monday.