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International

Finland Says Closes All But One Border Crossing To Russia

22:48, Wednesday, 22 November, 2023
Finland Says Closes All But One Border Crossing To Russia

Finland's prime minister said Wednesday that the country will close all but its northernmost border crossing with Russia, following a surge in migrants which Helsinki claims Russia is intentionally pushing.

Since the beginning of August, around 700 asylum seekers have entered Finland without a visa over its 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia.

"The government has today decided to close more border posts. Only Raja-Jooseppi station will remain open," Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told a press conference.

After seeing a surge in migrants seeking asylum on its eastern border in November, Finland last week shut half of its eight crossings to Russia.
     "Unfortunately, these measures have not been able to stop this phenomenon," Orpo said.

The government said that "it is clear that foreign authorities and other actors have played a role in facilitating the entry of persons crossing the border into Finland."

"The situation also involves international crime," the government said in a statement.

In October, the Finnish border guard sounded the alarm about a change in Russia's policy, as it began allowing migrants without proper documentation to cross the border.

"This is a systematic and organised action by the Russian authorities," Orpo said on Monday.

Border crossings will be closed starting Friday and will initially remain closed until December 23.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has rejected allegations that Russia is deliberately pushing migrants to the Finnish border.

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