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Finland to reopen two of eight borders with Russia after two weeks of closure due to influx of migrants

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HELSINKI (AP) – Finland’s government will reopen two of its eight border crossings with Russia later this week, officials announced Tuesday. A sudden influx of immigrants in November.

Prime Minister Peteri Olupo Cabinet The entire 1,340-kilometre (830-mile) border was temporarily closed. Two weeks ago, there were concerns that the Russian government was using migrants to destabilize Finland in an alleged “hybrid war.”

The Kremlin denies that Russia is encouraging immigration to Finland and says it deplores the closure of Finland’s borders.

Finland became NATO’s 31st member state in April.And many in the country feel revenge for Moscow’s actions over Helsinki’s decision to join the transatlantic military alliance, after decades of non-military cooperation and pragmatic friendship with Russia. I interpret that there is.

Two crossings in the southeast, Nyirala and Valimaa, will reopen from Thursday until at least January 14, Olpo and Interior Minister Mari Rantanen said at a press conference on Tuesday. There are a total of eight crossing points for passenger traffic on Finnish and Russian soil. There is one border and rail checkpoint for freight trains.

“The purpose of (Moscow’s) actions is to destabilize society. We cannot allow this to happen. If the operation continues, the border will be completely closed again,” Rantanen said. “The problem is not the number (of immigrants), but the phenomenon itself.”

Olupo stressed that the government’s decision to keep the remaining six intersections closed for the time being was unanimous.

He said a two-week complete border closure had managed to stem the influx of migrants, and that ministers had “categorically” informed Moscow that Helsinki “does not accept” Russia’s alleged actions.

Finnish authorities said nearly 1,000 migrants arrived at the border without proper visas or valid documents between August and the end of November, with more than 900 entering the country in November alone. The number is significantly higher than in previous years.

Finland, with a population of 5.6 million, is an important part of NATO’s northeastern flank and serves as the European Union’s external border in the north.

In early December, Finnish authorities announced that the majority of migrants, almost all of whom were seeking asylum in Finland, were from three countries: Syria, Somalia, and Yemen.

Smaller groups reportedly include nationals from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, and other countries.

Finland has accused Russia of deliberately directing migrants to its border area, which is usually tightly controlled by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

Finnish border authorities initially said the migrants were only using Russia as a transit country on their way from their home country to the EU, but later authorities said it was clear the vast majority had entered Russia with legal visas. Announced that they are working or studying abroad.


Follow AP’s coverage of global migration at: https://apnews.com/hub/migration


This article has been corrected to show that one of the reopened border crossings is Valimaa, not Imatra.

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