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Wednesday July 24, 2024

Finland extends Russia border closure indefinitely

Finland shut its land borders with Russia late last year amid a growing number of arrivals from countries including Syria and Somalia

By Reuters
April 05, 2024
The Finnish flag flutters in this undated photo. — AFP/File
The Finnish flag flutters in this undated photo. — AFP/File

HELSINKI: Finland will indefinitely extend the closure of land border crossings with Russia and add several ports to a list where travel from its eastern neighbour is prohibited, the government said on Thursday.

Finland shut its land borders with Russia late last year amid a growing number of arrivals from countries including Syria and Somalia. It has accused Moscow of weaponising migration against the Nordic nation, an assertion the Kremlin denies.

“Finnish authorities see this as a long-term situation. We have not seen anything this spring that would lead us to conclude that the situation has changed meaningfully,” Interior Minister Mari Rantanen said in a statement. The government had said in February that the border closure was set to last until April 14.

Finland annoyed Russia last year by abandoning its long-held stance of military non-alignment and joining the Nato alliance in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The Nordic nation has also signed a bilateral defence pact with the United States.

Despite the border closure, a few asylum seekers have continued to arrive from Russia and the government believes the numbers could rise significantly with the advent of spring and a rise in temperatures.