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Finland to only keep one crossing open on the Russian border

The Raja-Jooseppi border crossing between Finland and Russia.
The Raja-Jooseppi border crossing between Finland and Russia. Source: Kirsti Länsman/Yle

The Finnish government said Wednesday that it will close another three border crossing points with Russia due to a growing number of asylum seekers. Only the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing will remain operational.

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said at a press conference that the government needs to ensure the Finnish people's safety, Finnish public broadcaster Yle reported.

Finland recently closed four border crossing points with Russia, leaving open the Vartiuse, Salla, Kuusamo and Raja-Jooseppi crossings. But migrants are still trying to enter Finland from Russia through these border points. That is why Helsinki has decided to ramp up the restrictions and only keep one crossing open.

Orpo said that the government is continuing to monitor the situation, and that the restrictions are not aimed against anyone, with Finland simply looking to its security.

Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen said that the new restrictions will take effect midnight on Friday and will remain in force at least until December 23.

"These are truly extraordinary measures the goal of which is to root out this phenomenon," Rantanen said.

Raja-Jooseppi is the northernmost border crossing point between Finland and Russia. Rantanen also said that fewer migrant arrivals in the south suggest previous measures have worked.

More asylum seekers than previously have arrived at Finland's border with Russia in recent weeks as authorities on the Russian side are allowing people who do not have the necessary travel documents to cross the border regardless. People from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Turkey and Somalia have been among those seeking asylum recently.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski, Helen Wright

Source: Yle

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