Finland will reopen part of its border with Russia, two weeks after Helsinki closed its entire border due to an increase in illegal migrants attempting to enter the EU country with the help of the Russian government.
Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo announced on Tuesday that the Valimaa and Nyirala border crossings would reopen from Thursday, although most of the border crossings would remain closed. The decision will remain in effect until January 14, Finnish news agency Helsingin Sanomat reported.
Orpo said at a press conference that the risk of Russia continuing with institutionalized migration is extremely high. “For this reason, borders are gradually opening up,” he said.
“Unless we lift restrictions, we will not be able to verify whether there are positive changes. If this phenomenon continues, we will close these border crossings,” Olupo warned.
Finland has closed its eastern border with Russia amid accusations that Russia is pushing migrants and asylum seekers to its frontier to sow discord in return for joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance. was completely closed for two weeks.
The Russian government has repeatedly denied the claims, and the Russian Foreign Ministry said an earlier decision by Finland to close many border checkpoints was “unequivocally” provocative.
In an interview with POLITICO last week, Finland’s Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said the Finnish government hopes to reopen its borders once the flow of migrants eases.
Tensions between Helsinki and Moscow have increased since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, prompting Finland to join the NATO military alliance.