Police chief in Norwegian province asks government for power to close border with Russia

The Head of the Police of Finnmark, Norway,  Helen Catherine Haetta, appealed to the government p grant the police the right to close the border with Russia.  

“Memories of the autumn events are still fresh.  Because of this, one should consider the physical non-permanent closure of the border for a number of security reasons.  The Head of the Police of that region should have the authority to do that,” Haetta wrote in a letter to the government.  

She also mentioned that such measures can be resorted to in the case of an influx of refugees from Russian territory.

Haetta suggested that its necessary to decide whether each migrant arriving from the Russian Federation meets the specified criteria before he or she crosses the border with Norway.  Police officers, in her opinion, should have the right to make such decisions on the spot while the asylum seeker is still on Russian territory.

Approximately 5,500 migrants have crossed the Russian-Norwegian border en route to Europe in the past year.  Most of these migrants came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, and many of them are refugees.  In November, the Norwegian government decided that migrants who live legally in Russia, or moved to Russia on legal grounds, must be immediately returned there.  This is due to the fact that Russia is considered a safe country.

Between November and December, Norway sent 600 asylum seekers back to Russia. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, had stated that Moscow will not take back refugees who have entered Norway from Russian territory, claiming that these refugees provided false information with regard to their purpose for staying in Russia.

  Russia, Norway, Refugees