The Finnish Prime Minister announced the closure of the last checkpoint on the border with the Russian Federation
Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on Tuesday that the Finnish authorities had decided to completely close border crossings with Russia for the period from November 30 to December 13, Bloomberg reports.
On Thursday night, Finland will close the last working border crossing on the Russian border – Raya-Jooseppi located in the north of the country (Lotta on the Russian side).
“The goal is to normalize the situation on the border with Russia as soon as possible,” the agency quotes the prime minister as saying.
He clarified that, in Helsinki’s opinion, a short-term and complete closure of the checkpoint would be effective in resolving the problem of migration flow from Russia to Finland.
According to the Finnish Interior Ministry, this decision is caused by the situation with migrants, who have arrived at checkpoints on the Russian-Finnish border since August, about 900 people. “In the current situation, it is necessary to close the entire eastern border. We made this decision to protect Finland’s national security,” said Interior Minister Marie Rantanen, adding that migrants will now be able to apply for asylum only at Helsinki airport and ports of the Finnish capital.
It is indicated that all checkpoints will be closed for at least 2 weeks – until December 13, then the decision can be adjusted. Moreover, this restriction, as noted by the Finnish authorities, does not contradict the law on border protection, which allows the checkpoint to be closed for a certain period to “prevent a serious threat to public order, national security or public health.”
On November 18, Finland closed four border checkpoints in Southeastern Finland for three months, citing the organization of mass admission of immigrants from third countries to the Finnish border, which is sane to the Russian side.
On November 22, the Finnish government decided to close three more checkpoints by December 23, leaving only one of the eight crossings working, the northernmost Paradise-Jooseppi.
It is also reported that the entry ban will not affect freight and rail transport.
Russians who still travel to Finland (those who have a second citizenship, residence permit, and so on), as well as Russian-speaking Finns visiting the Russian Federation, reacted to the news without panic and, one might say, almost indifferently. The decision to completely restrict movement across the border was expected.
Recently, most of those wishing to get to Finland via Estonia: by bus from St. Petersburg to Tallinn, and then to Helsinki by ferry. However, the Estonian authorities periodically threaten to block this route as well – they recently defiantly strengthened the border crossing in Narva by installing concrete fences there, known as “dragon’s teeth”. And then travelers will only have the option of air travel – for example, with a connection in Istanbul.