In a significant move amidst escalating regional tensions, Finland has announced a complete closure of its border with Russia. The closure, effective from midnight on November 30 and lasting until December 13, marks a tightening of Finland's policies towards its eastern neighbor.
Understanding the Border Closure
The specific motivations for the border closure have not been publicly detailed. However, the move can be seen as a response to a myriad of potential factors, including shifting political landscapes, security concerns, and diplomatic considerations. The temporary nature of the closure indicates a strategic recalibration of Finland's border policy with Russia rather than a permanent change.
The Migration Issue
Finland's Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, has expressed increasing concerns over migration across the Finnish-Russian border. The country has witnessed a surge in asylum-seekers without visas crossing its 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, with approximately 800 recorded crossings since August. The sudden influx of migrants, predominantly from the Middle East and Africa, has been attributed to a change in Russian border protocol, a move Finland labels as a hybrid attack.
In response to the rising migration numbers, Finland has progressively closed several border checkpoints, with the only remaining checkpoint located in the Arctic region. The Finnish government, suspecting Moscow of orchestrating a migration crisis, closed three of the last four remaining border crossings with Russia. The Finnish government has indicated its readiness to implement additional measures in response to what it perceives as Russia’s artificially generated migrant crisis.
This decision to close the border, albeit temporarily, signifies a significant shift in Finland's stance towards Russia. The unfolding situation reflects the evolving dynamics of geopolitics in the region, the implications of which are yet to be fully understood.