Finland has decided to close four of its border crossing points with Russia in an attempt to prevent irregular entries into the country.
According to the Finnish Ministry of Interior, the affected border points are Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra, and Niirala.
People will not be able to cross the border through these four crossing points starting November 18, and the measure will remain effective until February 18, 2024.
The move comes as part of Finnish authorities to concentrate the submission of applications for international protection at the Vartius and Sall border crossing points, with the Prime Minister of Finland Petteri Orpo saying that measures are necessary to prevent any “escalation” of the situation.
We have acted decisively and swiftly so that the situation at the eastern border would not escalate. During the previous parliamentary term, amendments were made to the Border Guard Act precisely for such situations. These tools have now been used.
The Minister of Interior of Finland, Mari Rantanen, also echoed the emergency of the decision to close four border crossings with Russia.
Minister Rantanen stressed that this measure will help the country prevent irregular entries, and the same said that they are ready to take additional measures if needed.
The closing of border crossing points at the eastern border will stop illegal entry into Finland. The Government is prepared to take even stronger measures if necessary.
The Ministry stressed that during the period that the four border crossing points are closed, citizens of Finland will also not be allowed to pass through them.
They need to use open border crossing points if they plan to enter Russia.
Finnish citizens must also use open border crossing points.
The Ministry further stressed that the decision to close specific border crossings as well as centralise the submission of asylum applications on the other two points is based on the Border Guard Act.
This week alone, a high number of asylum seekers from Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria arrived each day in Finland via Russia.
The Border Guard Authority of Finland revealed that since September, a total of 280 asylum seekers arrivals via Russia have been registered.
The same said that around 3,000 people pass through the southeastern border crossings of Finland each day.