Finland closes entire land border with Russia again

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Finland on Thursday decided to close all the border crossing points with Russia again just after one day of resumption of border crossing points of Vaalimaa and Niirala at eastern border, said the Ministry of the Interior in a press release.

The government in an extraordinary session at the evening took the decision to close the Vaalimaa and Niirala borders again from Friday 8:00 p.m. to January 14, 2024 as the influx of asylum seekers from Russia continued.

Finnish Border Guard sources said that a total of 121 asylum seekers arrived at the Vaalimaa and Niirala border crossing points on Thursday, on the first day of resumption of the borders.

“Today (Thursday) Vaalimaa and Niirala border crossing points were opened after being closed in November. 93 asylum seekers arrived today to Niirala and until 8 pm 28 persons to Vaalimaa,” Matti Pitkäniitty, Head of International Affairs Unit of Finnish Border Guard wrote in a post in social media platform X late Thursday night, adding Niirala was closed for the night and Vaalimaa border remained open.

Following the decision of closure of the entire eastern border, applications for international protection will not be accepted at the crossing points on the Finnish-Russian border, said the press release of the ministry.

Earlier, the Finnish authorities opened the Vaalimaa and Niirala border crossing points to traffic on Thursday.

The plan was to gradually lift restrictions on border traffic at the land border between Finland and Russia and to monitor the effects of the removal of these restrictions.

However, it was found that instrumented entry into Finland continued on Thursday prompting the authority to close the border crossing points again.

“This is a sign that the Russian authorities are continuing their hybrid operation against Finland. This is something that Finland will not tolerate,” said Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen.

According to the Finnish authorities, it is clear that this type of entry in Finland has been aided by foreign authorities or other actors.

Elements of international crime are also involved. This type of irregular immigration and the prospect of its escalation pose a serious threat to national security and public order in Finland.

The government on December 12 decided to resume two border crossing points at eastern border from December 14.

The government on November 28 decided to close the all the border crossing points with Russia from November 30 against the backdrop of influx of the increasing number of asylum seekers.

Earlier, Finland closed three more border crossing points- Kuusamo, Salla and Vartius- at the eastern border early November 24.

​The government took the decision on November 22.

But entry into Finland at the eastern border has continued despite earlier restrictions.

Earlier on November 18, Finland closed four border crossing points- at Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala at eastern border.

The government on November 16, decided to close part of Finland's eastern border with Russia.

The government on November 15 at a meeting decided that measures to ensure border security will be taken following the rapid increase in illegal entry at the eastern border.

Earlier on November 14, the Ministry of the Interior said, the government may decide to restrict cross-border traffic or to close border crossing points at eastern border with Russia.

  •  Finland
  •  Closes
  •  Border
  •  Russia
  •  Asylum seekers


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