Finland Tightens its Borders

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.04 - 2024 1:55 PM CET

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Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Finland has decided not to reopen its border with Russia after April 14.

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Finland has announced an extension of its border closures with Russia.

The Finnish government, wary of the potential for increased migration pressure and the challenges it poses, is taking no chances, opting to keep land and certain water border crossings firmly shut for the foreseeable future.

Border Closures Extended Indefinitely

Originally set to reopen on April 14, Finland's eastern land border crossings with Russia will remain closed until further notice, as reported by the Helsingin Sanomat.

This decision includes the closure of water border crossings in Haapasaari and the ports of Nuyimaa and Santio to pleasure craft traffic starting April 15, a move aimed at preventing the instrumentalization of migration via water routes.

"It would be dangerous for people trying to disembark, and would create an additional burden on maritime rescue services," the Ministry of the Interior of Finland said.

Instrumentalization of Migration

Since last autumn, the Finnish government has accused Russia of orchestrating the movement of asylum seekers to Finland's eastern border, effectively using vulnerable individuals as pawns in a broader geopolitical strategy.

This tactic, according to Finland, aims to compromise the nation's security and disrupt public order.

The closure of the eastern border, except for the Vainikkala station designated for train crossings, has been a key measure in Finland's response to these challenges.

"According to the understanding of the Finnish authorities, this is a long-term situation," Interior Minister Mari Rantanen stated. "There were no observations received during the spring, on the basis of which it could be considered that the situation has changed significantly. In addition, with the spring, the opportunities for increased pressure increase. In Russia, there are hundreds and maybe even thousands of people in the areas close to the borders of Finland, who can be used as an instrument of pressure on Finland."

A Unified Response Called for

Finland's actions resonate with a call for a cohesive European Union strategy to address the use of migration as a geopolitical tool, a sentiment echoed by Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen.

The ongoing situation has also triggered investigations by the Finnish Border Guard Service into cases of organized illegal entry, further complicating the dynamic at the border.

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