Tensions between Russia and Finland are increasing. Last weekend, Finland closed half of its border crossings with Russia, in the fight against undocumented asylum seekers who, according to Finland, are being driven across the border from Russia. Russia is threatening countermeasures.
Finland plans to close its entire border with Russia on Wednesday, because the country is very concerned about the increasing group of asylum seekers who have crossed the border. Over the past week, more than 300 asylum seekers, mainly from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria, are said to have made the journey from Russia to Finland. In the period between the beginning of last week and the beginning of August, only 91 asylum seekers dared to cross.
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Finland strongly believes that Russia is helping asylum seekers cross the Finnish border. Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo stated that it is ‘evident’ that Russia is facilitating the flow of refugees, and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö states that it is impossible to return undocumented migrants. ‘Deportation of migrants who do not meet the criteria for asylum has become impossible. So when you cross the border, you stay in that country if you want to,” Niinistö said. He therefore hopes that the European Union will come up with a solution. Also because, according to him, it is ‘impossible’ for each country to deal with the situation on its own, because the problems can then immediately move to a neighboring country.
“It is impossible for each country to try on its own to deal with the situation that could break out immediately afterwards in a neighboring country.”
Russia itself denies the allegation that it is sending refugees across the border with Finland. In response to the partial closure of the Finnish-Russian border, the country has filed a formal complaint with the Finnish ambassador in Moscow. Russia said Finland’s move would “affect tens of thousands of people” in both countries. In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the Finnish decision was “hasty” and violated the rights and interests of tens of thousands of people on both sides of the two countries’ common border.