Southeast Finland’s border crossing points have recorded the arrival of 91 individuals with irregular travel documents since the beginning of August 2023, prompting asylum applications during border controls that represent an extremely high figure.
Through a recent statement, the Finnish Border Guard noted that these individuals mostly lacked the necessary entry visas and, originating from third countries, used Russia as a transit route.
Back in June 2022, Russian authorities banned travel from Russia to Finnish border crossing points without the requisite travel documents. A month later, it also decided to extend travel restrictions for citizens of the Russian Federation.
However, in the last few months, there has been a shift in the actions of the Russian authorities, particularly at the Southeastern Finland border, as they now permit travel even in the absence of the necessary documents, marking a departure from previous practices.
The problem is the phenomenon of illegal entry, in which one intentionally reaches Finland without the documents required for entry. International crime is probably also behind the phenomenon. The number of unauthorized border crossings at the land border has not changed. – Finnish Border Guard
In this regard, the Border Guard explains that previous cases along the eastern border have reflected this situation, especially after Russia attacked Ukraine. As a result, individuals seeking temporary protection entered the country from Ukraine with documentation that needed to be fully in order.
The same authority is also monitoring the developing scenario, cooperating with other security agencies to analyse the characteristics and impacts of the phenomenon, such as its possible implications for Finland’s public order and security. According to the same, if considered essential, legal measures may be applied depending on this assessment.
Last month, the Finnish Ministry of the Interior initiated a new project to evaluate potential adjustments to the Border Guard’s authority within the Schengen Area’s internal border.
In addition, the authority pointed out that the primary objective is to enhance border security and ascertain whether the Finnish Border Guard possesses comparable powers to the border authorities of other European Union member states.
During the same month, the Border Guard revealed the successful conclusion of the Eastern border pilot project barrier, signalling the completion of the nearly three-kilometre-long structure in Pelkola.
Throughout the construction of the pilot fence, rigorous monitoring and analysis were carried out continuously, and the authorities have emphasized their commitment to prompt notification regarding future border crossings.
Patrols within the pilot fence area have experienced increased mobility, while integrating new monitoring technology further enhances the authorities’ capacity to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the regional situation.