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Finland shuts down four border crossings with Russia amid migrant surge

Finland has closed half of its border crossings with Russia for three months to prevent illegal migration, as hundreds of asylum seekers have arrived from Russia in the past week.
Finnish border crossing
Finland closed all of its border crossings with Russia. Credit: YLE.
Finland shuts down four border crossings with Russia amid migrant surge

On the night of Saturday, 18 November, Finland closed four of its eight border crossings with Russia in response to the surge in illegal migration, the European Pravda reported.

The restrictions will be in place until 18 February 2024, according to the European Pravda.

Since midnight, the border crossing points of Imatra, Niirala, Nuijamaa, and Vaalimaa, located along the Russo-Finnish border in the eastern part of Finland, have been closed. Finnish border guards installed concrete barriers, metal fences, and temporary barbed wire fences at the checkpoints. The barriers used to control traffic at the border crossing points during regular business hours now block any movement of cars from Russia to Finland.

On 17 November, a total of 163 asylum seekers arrived from Russia at the closed border crossing points in southeastern Finland, with a total of about 300 asylum seekers arriving over the past week alone, according to the Finnish Border Guard Service. There were incidents due to the influx of people trying to cross the border.

On Friday (17 November), at the Niirala border crossing point, Finnish border guards used gas against one of the migrants who tried to break through the border, according to the European Pravda. There were cases when groups of asylum seekers arrived at the crossing points from Russia in an organized manner on bicycles.

Although the Finnish government closed half of the border crossing points with Russia, applications for international protection can still be filed at the northern border crossings of Vartius and Salla, which, along with Kuusamo and Raya-Joosepi, will remain open.

However, the Finnish government is ready to close the remaining border crossing points with Russia if necessary, the European Pravda reported.


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