Finland Shuts Doors: Border Crossings Closed Amid Surge in Asylum Seekers

Finland Shuts Doors: Border Crossings Closed Amid Surge in Asylum Seekers

In a move to address a growing influx of asylum seekers, Finland has decided to close its doors at four key border crossings.

The decision, announced by the Finnish Border Guard, comes as the government alleges that Russia, under Vladimir Putin’s influence, is intentionally directing migrants across the border in response to Finland’s recent decision to enhance defense cooperation with NATO.

Closing Borders: Barriers Erected at Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra, and Niirala Posts

Effective from midnight local time, barriers will be erected at the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra, and Niirala border posts in southeast Finland.

These strategic closures impact a significant portion of travel between the two countries, marking a notable response to the increasing numbers of irregular migrants attempting to cross.

Captain Jussi Vainikka of the Finnish Border Guards expressed concern over the surge, stating, ‘Yesterday was quite peaceful, but today again over 100 irregular immigrants have come to the southeast district of Finland.’

Accusations and Denials: Finland Points Finger at Russia

The Finnish government asserts that Russia is orchestrating the migrant flow as retaliation for Finland’s strengthened ties with NATO and increased defense cooperation with the United States.

Moscow dismisses these claims, with the Kremlin stating that Finland’s decision to close border crossings is a ‘big mistake’ and detrimental to bilateral relations.

Strained Relations: Kremlin Responds to Border Closures

In response to Finland’s actions, the Kremlin criticized the move, emphasizing the negative impact on bilateral relations.

The border closures underscore the complexities surrounding the 1,340-km (830-mile) border shared by Finland and Russia, which also serves as the EU’s external border.

Frontex Involvement: EU Agency to Safeguard the Frontier

As tensions escalate, the European Union border agency Frontex has announced plans to send officers to Finland to assist in safeguarding the frontier.

The move reflects the broader concerns within the EU regarding the handling of migration flows and the potential impact on member states.

Ongoing Debate: Legal Obligations and Border Security

While Finland takes decisive measures to address the surge in asylum seekers, voices within the country advocate for a balanced approach.

Finland’s ombudsman for non-discrimination highlights the nation’s duty under international treaties and EU law to allow asylum seekers to seek protection, sparking an ongoing debate on the delicate balance between border security and humanitarian obligations.

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