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Finland reports eastern border stable after re-closing crossing points

by Abbey Fenbert December 18, 2023 12:57 AM 2 min read
Patrol car of the Finnish border guard at 8 p.m. at the prematurely closed Vaalimaa border check point between Finland and Russia in Virolahti, Finland on Dec. 15, 2023. (Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva / AFP via Getty Images)
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Finland's eastern border with Russia has remained stable, without an influx of asylum seekers, since the country once again closed its border crossings after announcing a temporary reopening, the Finnish news outlet Yle reported Dec. 17.

Finland closed all its eastern border crossings in late November in order to combat a migrant crisis allegedly organized by Moscow. While Finland announced on Dec. 14 that it would reopen two crossing points, the government quickly reversed the decision, closing the entire eastern border again starting from the evening of Dec. 15.  

The country's Border Guard reported that as of the re-closing, the situation at the border has been largely stable.

No asylum seekers have arrived at the Niirala crossing point since Dec. 15, the Border Guard said. One asylum seeker scaled the fence near the southeastern Vaalimaa crossing point on Dec. 15, and another crossed the land border in the area the same day.

Finland has said that the large number of third-party asylum seekers attempting to enter the country through the eastern border without proper documentation is the result of a Kremlin operation meant to penalize Finland for joining NATO.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said on Dec. 17 that Finland is "now going to have problems" because of its accession to NATO. He also said he planned to concentrate Russian troops at the Finnish border.

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.

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