So far, it has not been decided in what concrete way border crossings will be restricted. But options are available.

According to Mari Rantanen (Finns), the minister of the interior, the government is ready to use all means allowed by law to control the increased number of asylum seekers from the eastern border. Archive photograph: Fanni Uusitalo/The Finnish Government

“Last week, 71 asylum seekers arrived at the eastern border in southeastern Finland without proper documents,” Colonel Mikko Lehmus the head of the Border Guard’s Situation and Risk Analysis Center, said at a press conference on Tuesday. About 60 asylum seekers arrived between Monday and Tuesday morning.

The Ministry of the Interior will start preparing restrictive measures for the eastern border. The government is ready to use all means allowed by law,” Mari Rantanen (Finns), the minister of the interior, said at the press conference.

The law gives Finland the option either to close down border crossings or to concentrate asylum applications in a single location. The Ministry of the Interior will now prepare a proposal for a decision at the government plenary session. According to Rantanen, the proposal will be prepared “as soon as possible.”

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If the “less drastic measures,” according to Minister Rantanen, do not work, it is possible to “move on to more drastic ones.”

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In the past, Rantanen stressed, that Russia did not allow undocumented travelers to continue to Finnish border crossings, but in recent months Russia’s policy has changed.

According to Colonel Lehmus, the “profile” of those entering the border has changed since the summer. Whereas before there were a lot of Ukrainians and Russians coming to the border, now there are people from the Middle East and Africa. According to Lehmus, Somalia, Iraq and Yemen are the main countries of origin.

For now, nobody wants to speculate on the reason.

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