NewsFinland extends Russia border closure amid migration concerns, NATO role clarified

Finland extends Russia border closure amid migration concerns, NATO role clarified

Finland extends the closure of the border with Russia for an indefinite period.
Finland extends the closure of the border with Russia for an indefinite period.
Images source: © Licensor | Lauri Heino
7:27 AM EDT, April 5, 2024
The Finnish Ministry of the Interior has announced its decision to extend the closure of borders with Russia amidst ongoing concerns over a surge in migrants.
At the end of last year, Finland sealed its 832-mile land boundary in response to an unexpected increase in asylum applications. This surge came shortly after Finland's induction into the NATO alliance, with the majority of migrants originating from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

The border closure with Russia has been extended beyond the initial expiration date of April 14th until further notice. The decision stems from worries that migrants may continue to enter Finland from Russia.

"Russia manipulates migration against Finland. Based on information from public authorities, the likelihood of a resurgence and escalation of manipulated migration, similar to what was witnessed before, remains high," the Finnish Ministry of the Interior declared.
Finnish authorities are treating this scenario as a long-standing issue. "This spring, we haven't seen any indications that the situation has notably improved," Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen remarked.

Gen. Jaakkola discusses the military situation

Gen. Janne Jaakkola, the newly appointed commander of the Finnish armed forces, clarified that Finland currently faces no specific military threat from Russia. Furthermore, he considered it unlikely that Russia would challenge Article 5 of the NATO Washington Treaty, which mandates collective defense among members.
According to the new commander, who assumed his role in early April, Russia's objective is "to secure the most favorable military stance in Ukraine, aiming for optimal negotiating power at the political level," notably in the context of the US presidential elections.
Source: Reuters, PAP
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