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HomeAuslandNew hybrid weapon of Putin: Surge in asylum requests in Finland

New hybrid weapon of Putin: Surge in asylum requests in Finland

According to a report by the US think tank “ISW”, the Finnish authorities closed four border checkpoints on the southeastern border with Russia on 18th November after the Finnish Border Guard reported that approximately 300 asylum seekers, mainly from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria, had arrived from Russia at the Finnish border since September 2023 as mentioned in the source. 89 border crossings by migrants were recorded in a period of two days between 7th and 14th November – a significant increase from the 91 crossings recorded from mid-July to 12th November.

Migrants endure cold at Finnish border

Currently, four checkpoints on the northeastern border of Finland with Russia are open, but only two of them are for asylum seekers. Reuters reported on 19th November that dozens of migrants arrived at the closed Finnish crossings of Nuijamaa and Vaalimaa on 18th November and gathered around a bonfire in sub-zero temperatures. The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported on 20th November that the Finnish authorities are considering the possibility of closing the entire border with Russia on the night of 21st November.

Finnish Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, stated on 14th November that Russian border guards were escorting or transporting migrants to the Finnish border, and the Finnish government indicated on 16th November that there were signs that “foreign authorities or other actors” had played a role in letting people illegally cross the border.

Kremlin responds: Criticism of Finland’s border policy

In contrast, the Kremlin rejects Finland’s accusations of being involved in the artificial increase of migrants. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, responded to the announcement of the closure of the four checkpoints on 17th November, stating that Finland had chosen a path of confrontation, which he termed as a “major mistake”. Peskov also claimed on 20th November that Finland’s potential decision to close the entire border “elicits nothing but deep regret” and alleged that Finland’s “Russophobic” attitude had damaged Finnish-Russian relations of the past.

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