Finland decides to close border with Russia indefinitely

The Finnish government has decided to keep the border with Russia closed "until further notice," Finland's Interior Ministry reported on April 4.

Finland closed its border with Russia in late November 2023 after Russia orchestrated an influx of migrants as a way to pressure Helsinki.

In November alone, around 900 asylum seekers from countries like Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen entered Finland from Russia.

Finland decided in February to keep the border closed until April 14, but the latest decision means that the border crossing will remain shut until the risk of "instrumentalized migration" falls, the Interior Ministry said.

"The threat assessment is the same and also the assessment that if the border stations were to be opened, it would probably have led to the same situation as before, when they were opened," Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said in parliament, according to Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

Finland's government also decided to close several crossing points for maritime traffic to leisure boating due to concerns that Russia may encourage migrants to reach Finland by sea or over lakes.

"This would be dangerous for people trying to land and would put a burden on sea rescue," the Interior Ministry said.

Russia's strategy of sending asylum seekers to Finland's eastern border was similar to the situation at the border between Belarus and Poland in 2021, when Minsk encouraged thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa to try to reach the EU via the Polish border.

Most of the migrants were violently pushed back by Polish border guards who set up a no-access zone at the border for nine months.

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