Finland is readying for a potential complete closure of its border with Russia, with a decision expected from the Finnish government on November 20, as per Iltalehti, a Finnish media outlet.
Should Finland proceed with the initiative, the border closure could take effect as early as November 22.
As a preliminary measure, Finland closed four of its nine border crossings along the eastern frontier from November 17, 2023, to February 18, 2024. The aim was to stem the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, whom the Finnish Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, alleged were being intentionally directed by Moscow across the border, as reported on November 16.
On November 19, the Finnish Broadcasting Company disclosed that the Finnish Defense Forces would commence the construction of fences at a specific border crossing with Russia.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov expressed concern, “Finland has chosen the path of confrontation with Russia. From the Kremlin’s point of view, this is a big mistake.”
Finnish authorities noted the surge in asylum seekers at the eastern border on November 12. These individuals, hailing from countries such as Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Somalia, traverse Russia from third countries.
Reports from Finnish media in September indicated an augmentation of Russian military bases along the border with Finland.
Finland’s Borders Act empowers the government to close or restrict border crossings for a specified or indefinite duration to avert severe national security or public health threats.
It’s worth noting that Finland closed its border to Russian tourists in September 2022. A year later, on September 15, Finland extended the ban to entry for Russian-registered vehicles. Vehicles with Russian license plates already present in Finland are required to depart the country by March 2024.