The Finnish government has decided that the border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia will remain closed.

Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen (Finns). Photograph: TONY ÖHBERG/FINLAND TODAY

IT WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE to submit applications for international protection at border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia. The government made the decision at its meeting on January 11, 2024.

On December 14 last year, the government decided to temporarily close the border crossing points on Finland’s eastern border for one month and to centralize the submission of applications for international protection. The aim was to stop instrumentalized migration at Finland’s eastern border.

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Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen (Finnish) said at a press conference on Wednesday that the increased activity on the eastern border was probably related to Finland’s membership in NATO and its strong support for Ukraine. But according to Rantanen, it is not possible to speculate on Russia’s behalf.

“Based on the information gathered by the authorities, it is very likely that Russia’s hybrid influence activities will resume and expand, as we have seen before. Therefore, we consider it necessary to keep the eastern border closed, Interior Minister Mari Rantanen said in an official statement.

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International crime is also involved in this phenomenon.

The risk of the resumption of instrumentalized migration at the eastern border poses a serious threat to national security and public order in Finland. According to the authorities, it is clear that the Russian authorities or other actors have facilitated instrumentalized migration. International crime is also involved in this phenomenon.

According to the authorities, there are still migrants in the neighboring area waiting for the eastern border to open. There are also more people in the migrants’ countries of origin who want to migrate to Finland.

The government, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and other authorities, will regularly review the content and scope of the decision as the situation develops. The decision will be revoked or amended if it is no longer necessary to prevent a serious threat to national security or public order. The Ministry of the Interior is also considering alternative ways to put an end to the phenomenon.

The land border between Finland and Russia will remain closed until February 11, 2024.

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