Finland to close some Russia border crossings – PM

Finland’s prime minister has announced that his country will close some crossings on the border with Russia.

Petteri Orpo said four crossing points in the south would close at midnight on Friday, while two in the north would stay open for asylum applications.

Finland has seen a surge in illegal crossings from Russia in recent days, mostly of third-country citizens.

Mr Orpo accuses Russia of deliberately helping people without proper documents to get to the border.

The prime minister said the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Niirala and Imatra border crossings would close. These points, in the far south-east of the country, have seen a surge in illegal crossings by citizens of countries including Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

The crossings at Salla and Vartius, far to the north, would remain open for asylum applications, Mr Orpo said.

Map of border crossings at the Finnish-Russian border
1px transparent line

Seventy-five asylum seekers arrived in Finland on Wednesday, according to border guards.

Finnish authorities say the people coming to their country arrive legally in Russia before travelling to the border to pass into Finland and claim asylum.

The prime minister has accused the Russian authorities of engineering the crossings.

“It is clear that these people are helped and they are also being escorted or transported to the border by border guards,” Mr Orpo said on Tuesday.

In 2021, thousands of migrants flew to Russian ally Belarus before crossing into EU member states Poland and Lithuania. At the time, the EU accused Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of seeking to destabilise the bloc by facilitating the passage of third-country citizens into the EU.

Finland shares a 1,340km (833-mile) border with Russia, Europe’s longest.

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