Finnish authorities surprised by influx of refugees across border with Russia

The Deputy Chief of the Finnish Border Guard, Ilkka Laitinen, is perplexed by the situation in which their border with Russia has quickly become one of the main crossing areas for refugees.  It is noted that more than 20 asylum-seekers crossed the border on Monday, February, 15th.

"This phenomenon raises many questions, the answers to which we do not have.  One question is why people are crossing the northern border of Raja-Jooseppi and Salla, while the southern border crossings remain the same," Laitinen says.

According to him, it is concerning as the number of people crossing is constantly increasing.  The Finnish Border Guard is just not used to such active work, he said.

The Chairman of the Finnish Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs, Antti Kaikkonen, called attention to the nationality of the people who are coming from Russia.  "The Syrians are not coming from there.  In particular, about one hundred people came from India.  It's a very complicated situation," he said.

It is believed that Russia is a safe country for asylum-seekers.  Therefore, Finland hopes that Russia will allow through the border only those who have valid passports and visas.  Apparently, Russia tightens and then loosens the border controls.  For example, Norway no longer accepts any refugees after Norway and Russia held talks on the issue.

Kaikkonen expressed the opinion that Russia would deny refugees the ability to cross the border due to the border controls that have been established and believes the protocols at the southern border crossing points are working well.  "It is an interesting and even a strange phenomenon, because with the southern border everything is all right," he said.

  Finland, Russia, Refugees