Finland accuses Russia of directing asylum seekers to its border

FILE PHOTO: A view of the pilot border fence during a media event of the Finnish Border Guard RAJA at the Finnish-Russian border in Imatra, Finland October 26, 2023. Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari/via REUTERS/File photo

Finland is accusing Russia of leading asylum seekers to its border. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo recently held a press conference where he stated that Russia has been assisting and escorting asylum seekers to the border by national border guards.

A sharp increase in the number of arrivals from Russia this week alarmed the Finnish government. The border guard authority reported that around 60 asylum seekers crossed into Finland through Russia since early Monday, a contrast compared to the 91 people who arrived without proper documents from August to November.

Finland adopted a new law last year that allows its border authority to temporarily halt the acceptance of asylum applications at certain crossing points if it becomes the target of mass immigration orchestrated by another country, with the government determined to protect its national security.

Finland shares a 1,340-km (833-mile) border with Russia, which also happens to be the European Union’s external border.  Wanting to ensure the safety of Finland’s eastern border, Finance Minister Riikka Purra even stated, ‘It’s not about the number of asylum seekers, but about Finland’s national security and the change in Russia’s activities.’

Finland’s interior ministry is preparing a proposal that could allow officials to limit border traffic or even close some crossing points.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has not responded to Finland’s accusations yet.

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