Finland reopens two Russia border crossings with a warning to Moscow | World News - Hindustan Times
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Finland reopens two Russia border crossings with a warning to Moscow

Reuters |
Dec 12, 2023 07:51 PM IST

Finland last month shut the Russian border until Dec. 13 to block a rising number of refugees from arriving in the Nordic nation.

Finland's government said on Tuesday it will reopen two crossings on its long border with Russia on Thursday after closing all eight roads between the two countries in late November to prevent an influx of asylum seekers.

A Finnish Border Guard speaks to migrants at the international border crossing at Salla, northern Finland.(AFP File)
A Finnish Border Guard speaks to migrants at the international border crossing at Salla, northern Finland.(AFP File)

"Without dismantling the restrictions, we cannot verify whether a change for the better is taking place. If the phenomenon continues, we will close these border crossing points," Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told a press conference.

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Finland last month shut the Russian border until Dec. 13 to block a rising number of refugees from arriving in the Nordic nation in what the government and its allies said was an orchestrated move by Moscow.

Some 900 asylum seekers from nations including Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen entered Finland via Russia in November, an increase from less than one per day previously, according to the Finnish Border Guard.

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The arrivals stopped when Finland shut the border.

Helsinki has said Russia was funnelling people to the border in retaliation for its decision to increase defence cooperation with the United States, including Finland's decision to join NATO, a charge the Kremlin denies.

In a letter published on Monday, the Council of Europe said it was "concerned about the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants" following the temporary border closure, and asked Finland to ensure it remained possible to seek protection.

The Council of Europe in its letter acknowledged "concerns about the potential instrumentalisation" of migrants by Russia, but said obligations must still be met.

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