PPA: Estonia has a plan for mass illegal migration from Russia

A "stop" sign at Estonia's border with Russia in south eastern Estonia (photo is illustrative). Source: Ministry of Defense

Estonia's borders are calm and there is no surge in migration, despite statements of organized attempts to cross the Finnish border en masse without documents, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) said.

Although no illegal immigrants from Russia have yet reached the eastern border of Estonia, border patrols are prepared, according to Veiko Kommusaar, PPA deputy director general.

"Countries to the south of us and Finland are under pressure from illegal migration, but the situation along the Estonian border is calm. So far, no noticeable surge in border crossings has been seen, either at the designated border crossing points or in the areas between them," Kommusaar said on Tuesday.

"We are monitoring the situation on our borders very closely. If necessary, we are prepared to respond and expel anyone who has no right to be here," he said.

The PPA "has a plan" to deal with a massive migration, which would be an attempt to influence Estonia, Kommusaar said.

"Without a visa, residence permit, or other legal entry document, people cannot enter Estonia," he said. "Those who request asylum at border crossings are screened for international protection eligibility and if they qualify, they can claim it. In any other case, people must return to a nearby country where they stayed and felt safe," he added.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) told a press conference that Russia had changed its practice by allowing people access to the border without required travel documents. He said that Finland would take necessary actions to prevent a mass inflow of people and protect its national security.

"It is clear that these people are helped and they are also being escorted or transported to the border by border guards," Orpo said.

Finnish officials have suggested that Moscow is deliberately allowing migrants to cross into Finland without proper travel documents in an effort to destabilize its neighbor.

Orpo said the Finnish government is drafting response tools. The Finnish Ministry of the Interior is preparing a proposal to restrict Russia-Finland border crossings.

The number of asylum seekers attempting to cross the border rose significantly over the weekend, with 34 people applying for asylum and more than 60 undocumented crossings registered this week. The arrivals come from the Middle East and Africa. The Finnish Border Guard said that the situation seems to be organized.


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Editor: Irina Kireeva, Kristina Kersa

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