Finnish president believes it is right to keep border with Russia closed

Alexander Stubb. Stock photo: Getty Images
Alexander Stubb. Stock photo: Getty Images
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Finnish President Alexander Stubb believes that the Finnish government's decision to keep the border with Russia closed was correct, as it helped prevent escalation.

Source: Stubb on Finnish public broadcaster Yle on Saturday (6 April), as reported by European Pravda

Details: Stubb noted that he believes the decision to close the Russian border was right. The Finnish president believes that Russia is playing a double game.

"The first is that Russia, Putin, is using people as a tool, a weapon in the war, which is ruthless, cynical and fundamentally wrong. Many people from Iraq, Yemen, Ethiopia and Syria have been involved – about 1,300 to 1,500. The other side of the issue is Russia's fear that the mobilisation will lead to Russian men fleeing the country via Finland," Stubb said.

The president expressed hope that the government would be able to pass a new law on border procedures in parliament. When asked if the law contradicts international conventions and human rights, the Finnish president stressed that the issue is not about ordinary refugees.

"The purpose of the law is to avoid having to apply it. The situation (at the border) remains quite calm, so we are on the right track," Stubb said.

"From the point of view of international law, I have been thinking a lot about whether this (the adoption of the law on the border procedure) will be a turning point. We are not talking about ordinary refugees and migrants here but rather about the use of people as a tool of influence. And here, international law needs to keep up with the times," Stubb said.

When announcing the extension of the land border closure, Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen noted that there are hundreds to thousands of migrants in Russia near the Finnish border who may be used as an instrument of pressure on Finland.

It has also been reported that the Finnish Border Guard has launched an investigation into about two dozen cases related to the organisation of illegal entry into Finland through the border with Russia.

Since last autumn, Russia has been gathering asylum seekers on Finland's eastern border, which means that it is turning people seeking asylum or a better life into a "tool" to achieve its own goals.

The Finnish government has decided that the land border crossings between Finland and Russia will not be reopened on 14 April, when the current closure expires.

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