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Finland Shuts Down Border with Russia Amid Migrant Crisis

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Bijay Laxmi
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Finland Shuts Down Border with Russia Amid Migrant Crisis

Finland has announced a complete shutdown of its border with Russia for human passage from Wednesday night until December 13, due to a suspicious increase in undocumented migrants seeking asylum. This surge has led Finnish authorities to suspect a Moscow-orchestrated operation as a retaliation for Finland's NATO membership and its support for Ukraine. The move, described as 'necessary and proportionate' by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, involves the annulment of eight border crossings, leaving only ports and airports as legitimate entry routes, while rail freight transport will continue unchanged. Interior Minister Mari Rantanen stressed that the issue is not the number of refugees, but the motives behind their arrival. In November, approximately 900 people from various countries arrived seeking asylum through Russia, which is seen as a 'Russian hybrid operation' compromising national security. Russia, for its part, has denied the allegations and has labeled the Finnish decision as 'irrational', arguing that it will have a significant economic cost for Finland. The relationship between Finland and Russia has deteriorated significantly since the onset of the war in Ukraine and Finland's subsequent accession to NATO, with Russia warning about possible 'countermeasures'.

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The Finnish-Russian Border Crisis

The complete closure of the Finnish border poses an additional difficulty for the movement of Russian citizens to EU territory, who also cannot access the EU through the Baltic countries or Poland, nor fly directly from Russia. Finland is closing the last road border it has left with Russia due to concerns about migration. The Finnish government accuses Moscow of pushing migrants towards the Finnish border. The last border crossing for vehicle traffic, Raja-Jooseppi, in the Arctic north of Finland, will close at midnight on Wednesday. A railway crossing between the two countries will remain open, but only for freight traffic.

A Matter of National Security

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The Finnish government has announced the total closure of its border with Russia to prevent further arrival of refugees from third countries through the neighboring nation. This measure will be in effect until December 13. The Interior Minister stated that the border closure has nothing to do with political asylum issues and is only a matter of national security. Finland accuses Russia of encouraging the arrival of more asylum seekers and has closed all border posts between the two countries.

Implications of the Border Closure

The total closure of the border with Russia from Thursday and for a period of two weeks is Finland's response to the current migrant crisis in northern Europe. The border crossing of Raja-Jooseppi, the only one still in operation, will close on Thursday midnight until December 13. Russia has accused Finland of having signed agreements for the deployment of NATO troops on its territory. Finland's government has announced the total closure of its border with Russia from Thursday, in order to prevent the further arrival of refugees from third countries through the neighboring nation. This measure will be in effect until December 13.

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