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Border Crossings Closure: Russia and Finland's Escalating Tensions

Saturday, November 18, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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A Russian state news agency, TASS, run by the state, reported on Nov. 17 that the Kremlin accuses Finland of causing harm to their relationship as some border crossings with Russia were shut down. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "Finland's choice of confrontation with Russia is viewed as a significant mistake."

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said Finland's move to close four of its nine crossings along the eastern border from Nov. 17–Feb. 18 aimed at preventing the influx of Middle Eastern and African migrants from coming into their country, allegedly directed by Moscow.

The four crossings are located to the south of the 1,340-kilometer border and are among the main entry points between the two countries.

Orpo told the Finnish news outlet Yle that Russian border guards changed their strategy and started allowing people through without required documents, hence contributing to an increased number of those who don't have proper documents.

Finland accuses Russia of bringing in undocumented migrants as an answer to the trespassing of Helsinki with a NATO accession in April.

Quoting from the press conference on Nov. 15, President Sauli Niinisto noted an anticipated reaction from Russia concerning the membership of the country in NATO.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen minced no words while condemning Russia's manipulation with migrants and expressing full support for the action by Finland.

Finland has said that it has been witnessing an increase in the rerouting of asylum seekers to Finland through Russia from countries like Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Somalia.

In addition, Russian media in September highlighted Russia's military installations along the border.

Finland has a right under its Borders Act to close crossing points in response to a severe threat to national security or public health. Meanwhile, in September 2022, Finland closed its border to Russian tourists.

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