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Officials: Finland to close the last border crossing with Russia “if necessary”

Russia’s attempt to create a migrant crisis at the Finnish border likely failed due to the Finnish authorities’ fast reaction, according to the ISW.
Captain Jouko Kinnunen, head of the Finnish border station, giving an interview for the media in the Vartius border station in northern Finland near Kuhmo, Finland, 21 November 2023. Credit: EPA-EFE / Janne Kuronen.

Russia’s attempt to artificially create a migrant crisis at the Finnish border likely failed due to the Finnish authorities’ swift response, ISW reported in its daily assessments on 27 November.

On 26 November, Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said in an interview with Yle that the Finnish government would close the last border crossing with Russia “if necessary.”

“The Finnish government is ready to take unspecified additional measures in response to Russia’s artificially generated migrant crisis,” he added.

According to the Russian source, Russian Presidential Administration First Deputy Head Sergei Kiriyenko instructed Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) Head Vladimir Kolokoltsev to gather migrants from the Middle East, Africa, and other regions to send them to the Finnish border.

The insider source complained that Finnish border authorities stopped most migrants from crossing into Finland and that Russian authorities must now settle the migrants in Russia.

On the night of 18 November, Finland closed four out of eight border crossing points with Russia until 18 February 2024 in response to the surge in migration. On 23 November Finland closed three checkpoints on the Finnish-Russian border, leaving only its northernmost border crossing open. Several other Finnish government officials also signalled their support for closing the entire border with Russia, ISW reported.

On 28 November, the Finnish prime minister said that Finland would close all border crossing with Russia if the situation keeps going.

Previously, the Finnish government has accused Russia of funnelling migrants to the crossings in retaliation for its decision to increase defense cooperation with the United States, an assertion dismissed by the Kremlin.

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