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Finnish PM labels Russian border situation a hybrid attack

Asserting a readiness to swiftly amend legislation, Orpo characterized Russia’s actions as an unmistakable assault on Finland and the European Union’s sovereignty.
Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo

In a morning interview on Ylen ykkösaamu, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo addressed the evolving situation at the eastern border, describing it as a hybrid attack. According to Orpo, the border closure was a regrettable necessity due to Russia’s unchanged behavior.

He stated that border checkpoints would remain closed for the next month, and he expressed readiness to swiftly amend legislation to address the border situation if required. Orpo deemed Russia’s actions a clear hybrid attack, characterizing it as an assault on Finland and the European Union’s sovereignty.

While acknowledging the need to stabilize the border situation, Orpo suggested considering asylum applications directly at the border and promptly screening individuals who do not meet the criteria.

“If asylum criteria are clearly not met, there should be the possibility to immediately turn individuals back,” said Orpo.

Finland closes eastern border, accuses Russia of hybrid warfare

However, he emphasized that implementing such measures depends not only on the Finnish government but also on broader considerations. Orpo made these statements during his appearance on the morning program Ylen ykkösaamu.

In response to escalating tensions and an attempt by Russia to create a migrant crisis at the Finnish border, Finland has reopened two border crossings with Russia—Vaalimaa and Niirala. The decision to reopen these checkpoints comes after the Finnish government closed all eight border checkpoints on the Finnish-Russian border on November 28, accusing Russia of engaging in hybrid warfare.

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

The closure was prompted by an alleged effort by Russia to artificially create a migrant crisis by gathering individuals from the Middle East, Africa, and other regions and directing them to the Finnish border. Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo emphasized that if Russia continues to bring asylum seekers to the border, the checkpoints could be swiftly closed again. The reopened border crossings are operational until January 14, 2024.

Finland views the situation as part of a hybrid attack orchestrated by Russia against Finland and the West. Prime Minister Orpo highlighted that the closure aims to bring Russia’s hybrid influencing activities under control. The Finnish government, while reopening specific checkpoints, remains vigilant and is ready to respond promptly to any developments at the border.

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