Europe

Finland to Close New Route in Bid to Block Entry of Asylum Seekers Through Russia

In an attempt to prevent the flow of migrants entering from Russia to Finland, the latter is planning to pass temporary legislation that will allow its border authorities to block asylum seekers attempting to enter its territory in irregular ways.

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Facing a worrying rise in irregular immigration, the government of Finland revealed that the country is also building new fences and deploying more patrols, drones and electronic detectors along parts of its border with Russia. According to the same authority, the proposed act is expected to enter into force as soon as possible and will remain in force for one year from its entry into force, Schengen.News reports.

Following the new legislation planned, the Finnish border guards will be able to take measures such as the following:

  • Call in thousands of reservists to help patrol the border
  • Detect phone signals of migrants
  • Send immigrants to detention centers and – more controversially
  • To push immigrants to Russia without accepting their asylum claims

The proposal’s objective is to effectively combat any attempts to put pressure on Finland through instrumentalised migration, strengthen border security and prepare for more serious situations of instrumentalised migration.

Finnish government

Finland Closed All Crossings on Its Border With Russia Due to Increasing Irregular Arrivals in 2023

Last year, Finland closed all crossings on its 1,340 km (830-mile) border with Russia due to many arrivals still needing valid documents to enter the European Union. During this period, some 1,300 migrants from nations such as Syria and Somalia arrived via that route.

However, asylum seekers have continued arriving, and the government believes the number could rise significantly as temperatures rise. In this regard, Helsinki has accused Moscow of sending migrants to the border, a claim that the Kremlin has denied.

In February, Interior Minister Mari Rantanen said authorities had information that thousands of people were on the Russian side waiting to travel to Finland. At the same time, Finland has once again decided to extend the closure of crossing points on its eastern border with Russia until April 14, 2024.

Finland Closed Sea Crossings to Haapasaari & Santio Island for Boating & Marine Leisure Activities

However, since there is no improvement in the situation, it decided to keep the border with Russia closed even after April 14 for an indefinite period.

In addition to closing the land border, Finland also closed sea crossings to Haapasaari Island, Nuijamaa Harbor and Santio Island for boating and marine leisure activities.

By closing these two border crossings to free boating, the government said it wants to be fully prepared for an expansion of instrumentalized migration in sea traffic now that the warmer months are approaching.

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