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Finland to close its entire eastern border from Thursday

The Finnish-Russian border.
The Finnish-Russian border. Source: SCANPIX/Emmi Korhonen/LEHTIKUVA/SIPA

The Finnish government has decided to temporarily close the last border crossing point still open on its eastern border with Russia. Only train traffic will be retained.

The decision means closing the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing point in northern Finland which is the only one currently still open, and concentrating asylum proceedings in airports and border crossings on bodies of water.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said that the government wants the situation on the border to normalize as quickly as possible.

Organized efforts to send asylum seekers to Finland have continued, the premier said.

"We are talking about Russian influence activity, which we find to be unacceptable," he added.

"Closing the entire eastern border for a short period is a necessary and proportional measure for ending this phenomenon. Russia has caused this situation and can also end it."

The border will be closed for a period of two weeks, or until December 13, with the decision to enter into force at midnight on Thursday (November 30), Finland's Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen said.

"This is not asylum or immigration policy but a matter of national security. Finland is a target of a Russian hybrid operation," Rantanen added.

"Looking at the profile of new arrivals, who are usually healthy young men, I would say they have a choice of whether to show up on the border or not. Our message is clear. Do not come. The border is closed," the interior minister remarked.

Spokesperson for the Finnish Border Guard Matti Sarasmaa said that new information suggests Finland's eastern border is still under threat and that even tougher measures could be taken in the future as train traffic still remains open.

Carriage of goods between Finland and Russia will continue via the Vainikkala railway station.

Estonian officials have said if Finland closes all its borders, then the migration path may redirect to Estonia's borders.

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Editor: Mark Gerassimenko, Marcus Turovski

Source: HS

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