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  • Finland Decides to Close All Borders with Russia
Perbatasan Rusia dengan Finlandia.

Finland Decides to Close All Borders with Russia

Kamis, 30 November 2023 – 13:25 WIB

Finland – Finland will close its last remaining border crossing with Russia amid concerns that Moscow is using migrants as part of hybrid warfare to destabilize the Nordic country following its entry into NATO.

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The country already had shut seven of the eight checkpoints on its 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia this month following a surge in arrivals of migrants from the Middle East and Africa. 

Para migran mengantre keluar perbatasan Rusia.

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Helsinki has accused Moscow of ushering them toward the frontier through thick forests in the south to the rugged Arctic landscape in the north.

“The government has decided to close all the crossing points on the entire eastern border,” Prime Minister Petteri Orpo stated, saying Finland faced an  exceptional situation that the government blames on Moscow for orchestrating.

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“Finland has a profound reason to suspect that the entry (of migrants) is organized by a foreign state. This deals with Russia’s influencing operations and we won’t accept it,” Orpo remarked.

“We don’t accept any attempt to undermine our national security. Russia has caused this situation and it can also stop it,”

The complete closure announced Tuesday is due to last for at least two weeks, after which one crossing point may be reopened, the Finnish government said.

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The current situation means migrants arriving from Russia only would be able to seek asylum upon arriving at Finnish airports or harbors.

However, there is currently no air or passenger boat traffic between Russia and Finland, so those options don’t exist.

The Kremlin denies encouraging migrants to enter Finland and says it regrets the Finnish border closures. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova argued last week that Helsinki should have instead tried to “to work out a mutually acceptable solution or receive explanation.

Finnish authorities say some 1,000 migrants without visas or valid documentation have arrived since August at the normally heavily controlled border, which makes up a significant part of NATO’s northeastern flank and acts as the European Union’s external border in the north.

Of that number, about 900 of those coming to Finland’s border with Russia arrived this month, an unusual increase for the country of 5.6 million, the Finnish authorities said.

The asylum-seekers are from countries that include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, they said.

Most are young men in their 20s and 30s, but some are families with children and women, border guard data and photos indicate. Many of them were dressed in sneakers and light outdoor gear.

Nearly all arrived at the border zone on bicycles that Finnish and Russian media reports say were provided and sold to them.

The governor of Russia’s northern Murmansk region last week said there were at least 400 people waiting to enter Finland on the Russian side of the border and that the number was expected to increase as Helsinki closed its crossing points bit by bit.

Orpo stated in a separate statement that Russia was guiding people to the border in harsh winter conditions. Finland is determined to put an end to this phenomenon.

Halaman Selanjutnya

The complete closure announced Tuesday is due to last for at least two weeks, after which one crossing point may be reopened, the Finnish government said.

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