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Finland preparing to completely close its border with Russia

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 20, 2023 2:34 PM 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 is making preparations for a total closure of its border with Russia, with the Finnish government posed to potentially make a decision on the matter on Nov. 20, the Finnish media outlet Iltalehti reported.

If Finland decides to move forward with the plan, the border could be shut as early as Nov. 22.

Finland closed four of its nine crossings along its eastern border from Nov. 17, 2023, to Feb. 18, 2024 to stop the flow of Middle Eastern and African migrants it says Moscow is purposefully ushering across the border, Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told reporters on Nov. 16.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company said on Nov. 19 that the Finnish Defense Forces would begin constructing fences at a border crossing with Russia.

"Finland has chosen the path of confrontation with Russia. From the Kremlin’s point of view, this is a big mistake," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Finnish authorities reported a spike in asylum seekers arriving at its eastern border on Nov. 12. The asylum seekers are foreigners who pass through Russia from third countries, such as Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Somalia.

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.

Finland shut its border to Russian tourists in September 2022. A year later, Finland banned entry into the country for Russian-registered vehicles, the Finnish public broadcaster Yle reported on Sept. 15.

Cars with Russian license plates that are already in Finland will have to leave the country within six months, by March 2024.

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