Middle Eastern Illegal Immigrants Overwhelming Finland’s Border At Russia’s Direction, Finnish Government Says
A Finnish Border Guard speaks to migrants at the international border crossing at Salla, northern Finland, on November 23, 2023. Russia announced tightened security in its northern Murmansk region after Finland said it would close all but one border crossing between the two countries. Helsinki said on November 22, 2023 the move follows a surge in attempted crossings by migrants seeking asylum in the EU country -- which Finland says is a destabilisation ploy by Russia.
JUSSI NUKARI/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images

Russia has forced its neighbor Finland to close most of its border crossings after sending hundreds of migrants — mostly from the Middle East — into the Nordic country, according to the Finnish government. 

Finland closed all but one of its eight border crossings over the past two weeks after more than 700 migrants from countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Morocco, Pakistan, and Kenya crossed into the country, Reuters reported. The newest NATO country accused Moscow of sending an increased number of asylum-seekers over the past few days, but the Kremlin is denying that charge. 

“Illegal immigration at Finland’s eastern border has continued to grow and has also expanded to other border crossings. Based on the observations made by the Border Guard and other authorities and the information received, it is clear that the authorities of a foreign country and other actors have a role in facilitating the arrival of persons who have crossed the border to Finland,” the country said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Since August, the country of roughly 5.6 million people, has seen around 800 migrants without proper documentation attempt to enter Finland with 700 of those migrants arriving in November according to the Associated Press. Finland connected the increased illegal immigration to “international crime,” saying the crisis poses a major threat to the country if it’s not stopped. 

“The phenomenon is also related to international crime,” the statement continued. “The phenomenon and the threat of its further expansion pose a serious threat to national security and public order in Finland and elsewhere in the Schengen area. The measures in accordance with the current decision have not stopped the phenomenon in the intended way.” 

Last week, Finland closed half of its border crossings before closing three more overnight Thursday. The only border crossing remaining open is Finland’s northernmost in Raja-Jooseppi, which is above the Arctic circle. Finland’s Border Guard said the Raja-Jooseppi crossing will continue to accept asylum applications as well, according to Reuters. 

Open Source Intelligence Analyst Emil Kastehelmi posted a video on X, which appeared to show migrants walking toward Finland from Russia. Kastehelmi said the asylum-seekers were dropped off near the Finnish border and given bikes.

The European Union has acknowledged Finland’s border crisis and sent up to 50 additional border patrol officers and equipment to help the country crack down on illegal immigration. Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo sounded the alarm on the issue during an address to Parliament on Thursday. 


“Finland cannot be influenced, Finland cannot be destabilized,” Orpo said. “Russia started this, and Russia also can stop it.”

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