Moscow responded to Helsinki’s claims of “hybrid warfare”, saying no attempts had been made to resolve the ongoing migration issue
Finland will completely close its eastern border with Russia on Thursday, closing the last open checkpoint for two weeks, Finnish Prime Minister Petri Orbo announced during a press conference on Tuesday, blaming Moscow for “exceptional” Situation.
The Raja-Giuseppe crossing, above the Arctic Circle, will remain closed until December 13. Seven more checkpoints on the Finnish-Russian border were closed earlier this month due to a surge in migration, which Helsinki claimed was initiated by Moscow in response to the exodus. Joining NATO earlier this year.
“Finland is a target of a Russian hybrid operation. This is a matter of national securityInterior Minister Marie Rantanen told reporters.
Finland is required to keep at least one border crossing open for asylum seekers under international law. Finnish border guards have reportedly been instructed to direct new arrivals to the country’s airports and ports, where they can then apply for asylum.
However, the UNHCR representative to the Nordic and Baltic countries warned Helsinki on Tuesday that this was not enough, arguing that the imminent closure of the borders would “Contrary to international law.”
Orpo claimed to have intelligence indicating that Russia was helping asylum seekers reach the Finnish border, and said the move was legally justified. “This is an organized activity, not a true emergencyHe told reporters on Monday, claiming that “The ease with which migrants found their way to the remote border crossing pointThey proved that they were sent there by Moscow.
Russia rejected these accusations, describing them as “Completely unfoundedShe insisted that border guards only allow people who have the legal right to do so, and responded that Helsinki had not even tried to reach a solution through diplomatic channels regarding the migration issue.
“No preliminary consultations were held with the Russian side regarding closing the barriersForeign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters last week, accusing Russia’s neighbor of acting unilaterally:You have presented us with a fact.“
Russia filed a formal complaint with its Finnish ambassador regarding the closure of the initial checkpoints, alleging that Helsinki violated the rights and interests of both Finns and Russians by “He rushed” resolution.
More than 600 migrants seeking asylum have arrived at the Finnish border this month alone, a Finnish border patrol officer told the Guardian last week — a massive increase from the usual single-digit numbers — with 62 migrants reportedly arriving in one day.
The migrants’ home countries include Yemen, Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria, according to immigration authorities.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö earlier this month called on the European Union to put an end to uncontrolled migration to the Schengen Area, lamenting that it had become impossible to return migrants who do not meet asylum criteria.