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ISW: Russia's attempt to create migrant crisis at Finnish border failing

by Dmytro Basmat November 28, 2023 6:34 AM 2 min read
A border guard patrol along the border wall at Polish - Belarus border not far from Bialowieza, eastern Poland, on May 29, 2023. (WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia's attempt to instigate a migrant crisis at the Finnish border appears to be failing due to Finland's quick response in closing its borders, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported in its daily assessment on Nov. 27.

Russian authorities reportedly directed the Interior Ministry to gather migrants from the Middle East, Africa, and other regions and send them to the Finnish border. Border officials in Finland stopped most migrants from crossing into the country and Russian authorities will now be forced to settle the migrants in Russian territory.  

Responding to what the Finnish government deems as "instrumentalizing migrants" at its border, Finland has closed all but one border crossing with Russia.

On Friday, Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said the Finnish government will consider closing the last border crossing “if necessary” and reported that Finland may take additional unspecified measures to bolster border security.

In November, approximately 900 asylum seekers from countries including Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen entered Finland from Russia, marking a significant increase from the previous rate of less than one per day, as reported by Reuters.

Finland joined NATO earlier this year as a means to prevent serious threats to its national security from neighboring Russia. Previously, Finland shut its border to Russian tourists in September 2022, banning entry into the country for Russian-registered vehicles. Cars with Russian license plates that are already in Finland will have to leave the country by March 2024.

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