Finland decides not to open border with Russia

Finland will leave its border with Russia closed as long as the war in Ukraine continues. The country’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said in an interview with Yle.

“Judging by the information that I have at the moment, nothing has changed in Russia,” – said the head of the Cabinet. The prime minister said that when making the decision, the border and national security are on one side of the scale, and other issues, such as the situation of Russians living in Finland, are on the other. “The government has come to the conclusion that border security is a critical issue for us”, Orpo concluded.

Earlier, the Finnish government’s intentions to keep the border closed were reported by sources of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. According to them, there is no final decision yet. If the government does not adopt a new decree, the decision to close the border, adopted in December, will cease to be valid on January 15.

The current law allows the border to be closed for a fixed or indefinite period of time. These measures can be introduced if they are “necessary to prevent a threat to public order, national security or a threat to public health”. The authorities may also allow Russians to apply for international protection at one or more checkpoints. At the same time, the government must justify whether such a radical action is necessary or whether it would be possible to achieve its goal with easier measures.

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior is urgently drafting a border order act that would allow rejection of manifestly unfounded asylum applications already at or immediately next to the border.

By mid-November, the number of refugees at the Russian-Finnish border had reached several hundred. In response, Finnish authorities banned bicycles from crossing the border and then began closing checkpoints.

When only one, the northernmost one – Raja-Jooseppi, located 240 kilometers from Murmansk and almost 1000 kilometers from St. Petersburg – remained, migrants managed to get there with the help of regional Russian authorities, who allocated buses, set up tents near the checkpoint and provided hot food.

As a result, on November 30, Finland decided to completely close the border with Russia until December 14. However, after that date the situation repeated itself and the restrictions were returned until January 14.

Home / News / In Russia / Finland decides not to open border with Russia