As Migrant Concerns Grow, Finland Approves Border Closure Extension

Finland has closed its border crossing points with Russia indefinitely due to fears of Moscow-organized mass migration.

The previous due date has been extended until further notice, and the new one is open-ended. The Finnish Ministry of the Interior is worried about the dangers to public safety and national security that might result from a flood of undocumented foreign nationals trying to enter Finland from Russia. Based on information from public agencies, the ministry has said that instrumentalized migration will likely resume and spread.

In response to a massive surge of more than 1,300 refugees without appropriate papers or visas, Finland decided last year to shut its 830-mile land border. Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen are among the Middle Eastern and African nations from where the vast majority of migrants originate.

Finland, a country with 5.6 million people and membership in the European Union, has received many asylum seekers. According to the Finnish Border Guard, many migrants have valid permits to enter Russia legally, whether for work, school, or permanent residence. Russia is a safe country.

The Finnish government has long maintained the closure of checkpoints, citing Russia’s alleged deliberate targeting of the strongly guarded Russia–Finland border zone as the reason. This zone serves as the northern external boundary of the European Union. Moscow denied Helsinki’s accusations and hit Finland for not wanting to discuss the border dispute.

As part of its ongoing efforts to pass a law against instrumentalized migration, the Finnish government is contemplating using the pushback technique to forcefully remove asylum seekers and migrants from the country at its border with Russia. A blatant breach of both EU and international law is the forcible repatriation of persons across international boundaries without regard to their rights to seek asylum or other types of protection.