Finland has once again decided to extend the closure of crossing points on its eastern border with Russia due to ongoing intrsumentalised migration concerns.
Finland’s border crossing points with Russia will remain closed for another two months, until April 14, 2024, and during this time, no one will be able to enter or leave Finland through the eastern border.
In addition, for as long as the eastern border remains closed, it will not be possible for migrants to submit international protection applications at any border crossing point at the Finnish-Russian border.
These types of applications can currently be submitted only at Finland’s border crossing points that are open for movement.
As the Finnish authorities explained, the decision to prolong the measures on the eastern border was taken due to the high number of irregular migrants waiting to enter the country.
Finland believes that instrumentalised migration can only be prevented by keeping its border with Russia shut. For this reason, the authorities will continue to assess the situation and decide whether to continuously extend the measures or drop them if the situation starts to improve.
Commenting on the extension of the measure, the Minister of Interior of Finland, Mari Rantanen, said that there are thousands of migrants who are waiting near the border on the Russian side for a chance to enter Finland.
She further stressed that despite the country’s calls, they had seen no indications of Russia changing its behaviour, saying that the latter is continuing with its hybrid operation to destabilise the EU.
We have seen no signs that Russia is changing its behaviour. On the contrary, the information we have received confirms our assessment that Russia is continuing its hybrid operation. We have reason to believe that this situation will continue for some time.
Intrumentalisation of migrants by Russia has raised concerns among Finnish authorities. They have said that they are looking for alternatives to put an end to this phenomenon.
The temporary closure of border crossing points is the result of Russia’s actions, which require Finland to put national security first.
In addition to keeping its entire eastern border closed Finland is also considering putting up additional temporary barriers at the border with Russia.
Even though the Finnish Border Guard has not disclosed where the temporary barriers will be placed, it has been suggested that the authority will take all the necessary measures to protect its borders and ensure national security.