Finland Takes Action to Address Illegal Crossings on Russia Border

In a move to address the surge of illegal crossings from Russia, Finland’s prime minister, Petteri Orpo, has announced the closure of four crossing points on the border. The decision comes as Finland has seen a significant increase in undocumented migrants attempting to enter the country, with citizens from various countries, including Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, making up the majority.

The closing of the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Niirala, and Imatra border crossings, located in the far south-east of the country, aims to curb the influx of unauthorized migrants. These points have been particularly active, with people attempting to enter Finland by first arriving legally in Russia before making their way to the border and claiming asylum upon entry.

However, two crossing points, Salla and Vartius, located far to the north, will remain open for asylum applications. This decision highlights Finland’s commitment to offering protection to those genuinely in need, while still addressing the issue of illegal crossings.

The prime minister, Mr Orpo, has publicly accused the Russian authorities of facilitating or even orchestrating these crossings. He believes that individuals without proper documents are being aided and escorted by border guards to reach the border. These allegations are causing tensions between Finland and Russia, as the former accuses the latter of intentionally burdening their border security.

The closure of the four crossing points is a significant step taken by Finland to ensure the integrity of its borders and manage the influx of unauthorized migrants. However, it is essential to consider the potential impact and the precautions that need to be taken:

1. Border Security Cooperation: Finland’s decision to close the crossings highlights the need for robust cooperation and coordination between Finland and Russia in terms of border security. Both countries must work together to address the issue of undocumented migration effectively.

2. Humanitarian Considerations: While the closure of the four crossing points aims to deter illegal crossings, it is crucial to ensure that genuine asylum seekers still have access to the asylum application process. The decision to keep the Salla and Vartius crossings open for asylum applications reflects Finland’s commitment to upholding international humanitarian obligations.

3. Diplomatic Relations: The allegations made by the prime minister regarding Russia’s involvement in aiding illegal crossings may strain diplomatic relations between the two countries. It is important for both Finland and Russia to engage in open dialogue to resolve these tensions and maintain a constructive relationship.

4. Addressing Root Causes: Closing border crossings alone may not fully address the issue of undocumented migration. It is crucial for Finland and other countries to collaborate with international partners to address the root causes of migration, such as conflicts, instability, and lack of economic opportunities in migrants’ countries of origin.

5. Monitoring and Enforcement: Finland should establish robust monitoring and enforcement measures to prevent the emergence of new illegal crossing points or alternative routes. This will require ongoing cooperation between border authorities, law enforcement agencies, and international partners.

6. Refugee Integration: As Finland continues to receive asylum seekers, it is essential to invest in programs and initiatives that facilitate their successful integration and contribute to the social and economic well-being of both migrants and local communities.

The closure of the four border crossings on the Russia-Finland border reflects Finland’s commitment to maintaining border security and managing the influx of undocumented migrants. However, addressing this issue will require ongoing cooperation, humanitarian considerations, and efforts to address the root causes of migration. By implementing comprehensive measures and engaging in diplomatic dialogue, Finland aims to strike a balance between maintaining national security and upholding its international obligations.