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Finland extends closure of border with Russia for another month

by Kateryna Hodunova January 11, 2024 5:32 PM 2 min read
Finnish Border Guard Major General Matti Sarasmaa (L) and Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen attend press conference on the situation of the eastern border stations of Finland in Helsinki, Finland, on Jan. 11, 2024. (Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)
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Finland will extend the closure of all eight checkpoints along its border with Russia until at least Feb. 11, the Finnish news outlet YLE reported on Jan. 11, citing Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen.

Finland fully closed its border with Russia in late November to prevent an influx of migrants from entering the country via Russia. In November alone, around 900 asylum seekers from countries like Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen entered Finland from Russia.

Finnish authorities suspected the asylum seekers were being pushed to the border by Russia in what Helsinki labeled a "hybrid operation against Finland."

While Helsinki initially decided to reopen two crossing points with Russia on Dec. 14, it quickly reversed the decision the following day.

The situation at the Finnish border has remained unchanged since December, according to Rantanen. Migrants are reportedly waiting on Russia's side of the border for entry into Finland.

Rantanen said the Finnish government is continuing to search for a solution to the crisis.

When Finland re-closed the border on Dec. 15, Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen attributed the ongoing border crisis to Russian aggression and interference.

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

Moscow’s strategy echoes that of Minsk, which orchestrated a migrant crisis along its borders with its EU neighbors.

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