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Finland has decided to indefinitely extend the closure of its land borders with Russia and has added several ports to a list where travel is prohibited. The Finnish government announced this extension on Thursday, aiming to manage the influx of arrivals from countries such as Syria and Somalia.

The decision comes after the country closed its borders late last year, citing a significant increase in arrivals. The Finnish government has consistently accused Russia of using migration as a strategy against them, a claim Russia denies. Interior Minister Mari Rantanen said, “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.” Initially, the border closure was intended to last until April 14.

Finland Russia Border

Despite the closure, asylum seekers have continued to arrive from Russia. “There are hundreds and possibly thousands of people close to Finland’s border on the Russian side that could be instrumentalised against Finland,” Rantanen added, suggesting a potential increase in migrant numbers with warmer weather.

In response to these challenges, the Finnish government is considering temporary legislation to empower border authorities to block asylum seekers from Russia. In addition, to counter the anticipated rise in “instrumentalised” migration, Finland has closed three ports to leisure boating.

The backdrop of these developments includes Finland’s recent shift in foreign policy. Last year, Finland joined the NATO alliance, moving away from its history of military non-alignment, partly in reaction to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. This move, coupled with a defense pact with the United States, has heightened tensions with Russia.


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