The Finnish government has accused Russia of deliberately redirecting migrant flows from third countries to border crossings in retaliation for Helsinki’s decision to expand military cooperation with Washington. Moscow denies such accusations.
The Finnish Border Guard has been erecting barriers since midnight on Friday at the border points of Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala in south-eastern Finland, through which most traffic passes between the two countries.
Finnish border guards told reporters that dozens of migrants arrived at the Nuijamaa and Vaalimaa crossings on Saturday afternoon and lit fires in sub-zero temperatures behind iron wire barriers set up by border guards. In Nuijamaa, two people managed to break through the barriers and enter Finland, Reuters.
“We are currently improving the barriers so that something similar will no longer be possible,” Colonel Mika Ritkonen said, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE.
Finland shares a 1,340 km border with Russia, which is also the external border of the EU. According to the Border Guard, about 300 migrants seeking asylum have arrived in Finland this week, mainly from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria.