Finland plans to close the remaining checkpoints, which are still operating on the land border with Russia, on the night of November 22, local media write. The decision was caused by the influx of illegal migrants from Russia.
The Russian side is using hybrid war tactics on the Finnish border, repeating the scenario of the “migration crisis” on the Polish border with Belarus and trying to destabilize NATO, the Institute for the Study of War writes. In recent months, an exceptionally large number of people who do not have entry documents have tried to enter Finland through the checkpoints on the southeastern border, border guards said.
“It is unlikely that these migrants would continue to remain at the Finnish border in sub-zero temperatures of their own volition after Finnish border authorities denied their entrance into Finland, suggesting that Russia is likely involved in the situation in some way,” the Institute for the Study of War says.
It was impossible to resolve the situation on the border with Russia through the diplomatic channels of Finland. Therefore, the country’s government is ready to accept further restrictions if the situation worsens, said Prime Minister of Finland Petteri Orpo.
“For some time, the Russian authorities let people through without proper documents. We have indications that this activity is organized,” Orpo said.
The Finnish government has concluded that the right to asylum guaranteed by international agreements has completely lost its meaning on the eastern border due to Russia’s actions, the journalists write. Therefore, the country should have the right to return illegal asylum seekers to Russia, which received them on its territory, and most of whom had a residence permit in Russia. However, Russia is unlikely to want to accept its refugees, the journalists add.
“Russia’s apparent hybrid warfare tactic on the Russian-Finnish border is similar to Russia’s and Belarus’ creation of a migrant crisis on the Polish border in 2021 and is likely similarly aimed at destabilizing NATO,” the Institute for the Study of War says.
On November 18, Finland closed four of the eight border checkpoints – Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra, and Niirala. Long queues formed at the border, and temporary fences began to be erected in the border zone. The Finnish Armed Forces assist the border guards. The checkpoints will be closed until at least February 18 next year.
Cover: Lehtikuva / Reuters