Finland closes half of its border crossings with Russia

Finland has decided to close four of its eight border crossings on the border with Russia overnight between Friday and Saturday due to the influx of migrants. This was announced by the Finnish Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo. Helsinki, after the increase in illegal flows at its borders, accused Moscow of making it easier for migrants to enter Finland irregularly, in what the country claims is a Russian tactic to destabilize it.

The decision of the Finnish government

“Today the government took the decision to close the border crossings of Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala on the land border between Finland and Russia”, Interior Minister Mari Rantanen told the press, while Orpo pointed the finger at Russia claiming he is acting with “malice”. Just in the last few hours, however, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, had defined himself as “deeply regretted” due to the idea that Finland could opt to close the crossings.

Finland – Russia relations

In total, Russia and Finland share a land border of 1,340 km. More recently and especially since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, relations between the two countries have soured. Even more so when Helsinki decided to abandon decades of military non-alignment and joined NATO in April.

Stoltenberg: “Vigilance on migrants at the border with Finland”

“We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with the Finnish authorities.” This, in the meantime, was the comment of the general secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, on the sidelines of a meeting with the president of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs and in response to those who asked whether the increase in migrants at the border could be considered a “hybrid attack ”. “It is too early to decide whether this is an issue to be addressed at an allied level but we remain vigilant,” Stoltenberg confirmed.