NewsFinland's emergency border closure with Russia amid hybrid attack fears

Finland's emergency border closure with Russia amid hybrid attack fears

The Finns are sounding the alarm. "Russia's hybrid attack"
The Finns are sounding the alarm. "Russia's hybrid attack"
Images source: © PAP | AA/ABACA
11:27 AM EST, December 16, 2023

The Finnish government's leader suggested that international state services have a part to play in the attacks on our nation's borders. "Russia is accountable for this, including for the people that are being directed towards the Finnish border," Petteri Orpo disclosed on the Yle channel.

"Unfortunately, the re-closure of border crossings was a necessity because Russia has maintained its attitude," he highlighted. The Prime Minister also announced proposed modifications in legislation that would allow the introduction of "more permanent solutions," as opposed to the interim remedies currently in place.

Finland shuts border with Russia: Crossings closed

On Friday evening, Finland shut its border with Russia. The government issued a new directive a few hours after the temporarily opened crossings. After a hiatus of about a month, the two principal crossings on the southern division of the border were closed.

In less than two days (Thursday and Friday), over 300 migrants arrived at the Vaalimaa check point from the direction of Petersburg and Niirala in North Karelia from the direction of Petrozavodsk, which included individuals from Syria, Somalia, and India, according to reports from local border guard units.

The abrupt decision by the Finnish authorities to shut the eastern border once again led to pandemonium at the crossings. Originally, the border traffic was scheduled to be permitted for the holiday period until mid-January.

On Friday, drivers were stranded in miles-long queues, and several people, especially those traveling to Russia, were turned away by the border guards hours before the official closure of the barriers.

After the border shut down, the Finnish Press Agency STT reported that a significant group of almost 100–200 migrants remained on the Russian side. They scattered throughout the night, and the remaining individuals huddled around a fire. No further attempts to cross the border were detected - the border guard reported on Saturday.

The current decision to close the border remains in effect until mid-January.

Since autumn, over a thousand migrants, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa, who lack the necessary documents to enter the EU, have arrived in Finland from Russia.

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