Finland has shut down its remaining border crossing with Russia, accusing Russia of using migrants as a tool in a 'hybrid warfare' strategy to destabilize Finland after its NATO entry. Unprecedentedly, around 1,000 migrants, lacking visas or valid documentation, have infiltrated Finland since August. These migrants, predominantly asylum seekers, hail from various nations, including Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Finnish authorities noted an unusual surge in migrants crossing from Russia this month, contributing to an escalating trend since August.
Russia's Alleged Involvement
The Finnish government implicates neighboring Russia in inciting a wave of migrants into Finnish territory. This migrant crisis led Finland to seal off multiple checkpoints on its southeastern border with Russia. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russia's alleged 'hybrid warfare' tactic on the Russian-Finnish border mirrors Russia's and Belarus' creation of a migrant crisis on the Polish border in 2021, with the likely aim of destabilizing NATO.
Russia is purportedly using migrants in its hybrid warfare to destabilize Finland and Estonia. Moscow, in retaliation against Finland for joining NATO, is fostering instability felt across Europe's eastern frontier. Russia's strategy appears to be overwhelming and destabilizing its hostile neighbors. Finnish officials have accused Russian authorities of ferrying people without proper documentation to the Finnish border. In response, Finland deployed soldiers to its 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, fortifying it with barbed wire and concrete barriers.
Finland has resolved to close its entire border with Russia to travelers for the next fortnight, aiming to halt the unusually large flow of asylum seekers into the nation. Approximately 900 asylum seekers from countries like Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen infiltrated Finland from Russia in November. Helsinki accuses Moscow of channeling people to the border in retaliation for its decision to ramp up defense cooperation with the United States. Finland finally decided to close the last road border crossing that had remained open on its frontier with Russia after it continued to push migrants into the Nordic country. Finland believes that this 'instrumentalized immigration' would have intensified without the decision, indicating Russia's intent to wreak havoc on the EU's external borders.