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Finland plans to restrict border with Russia due to security concerns

by Abbey Fenbert November 16, 2023 12:42 AM 2 min read
A member of the Finnish Border Guard stands next to a fence along the Finnish-Russian border in Pelkola, Imatra, Finland, on May 30, 2023. (Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva / AFP via Getty Images)
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Finland plans to close crossings along its eastern border on Nov. 16 for national security purposes, the Finnish media outlet Helsingin Sanomat reported on Nov. 15, citing sources within the government.

The Finnish government had planned to announce border restrictions earlier, on Nov. 15, but postponed the decision due to updated intelligence information, according to sources.

It is unclear whether Finland plans to close all, or only some, of its border crossings.

Interior Minister Mari Rantanen will hold a press briefing on the border restrictions on Nov. 16. The original briefing scheduled for Nov. 15 was canceled and postponed.

Sources told Helsingin Sanomat that the situation along the border with Russia had deteriorated. The delayed announcement reflects a plan to impose tougher restrictions in light of new information.

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The restrictions may be in place for an indefinite period, and could involve restrictions based on national origin. However, those measures would not prevent foreigners entering the country from applying for asylum.

Finnish authorities reported a spike in asylum seekers arriving at its eastern border. These are foreigners who pass through Russia from third countries, such as Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Somalia.

According to the agency responsible for maintaining Finland's border security, Russia has stopped preventing asylum seekers who lack required travel documents from traveling to the Finnish border.

Finnish media also reported in September that Russia has been building up its military bases along  the border with Finland.

Finland's Borders Act allows the government to close a crossing point or restrict border traffic for a limited or indefinite period of time in order to prevent serious threats to national security or public health.

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