Finland's eastern border to remain closed
The Government has decided that the border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia will remain closed until 14 April 2024. It will also not be possible to submit applications for international protection at any border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia. The Government decided on the matter in its session on 8 February 2024.
The decision will extend the total closure of the eastern border by two months. Under the current circumstances, it is a necessary and proportionate measure, as instrumentalised migration poses a serious threat to Finland's national security and public order. Based on the information provided by the authorities, it is likely that instrumentalised migration would resume if border crossing points were opened at the eastern border.
“We have seen no signs that Russia is changing its behaviour. On the contrary, the information we have received confirms our assessment that Russia is continuing its hybrid operation. We have reason to believe that this situation will continue for some time. There are hundreds if not thousands of migrants who are currently staying close to the border on the Russian side and who are waiting for the chance to cross into Finland,” says Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen.
“Understandably, the continued total closure of the eastern border is distressing especially for people with family on the Russian side. However, the temporary closure of border crossing points is the result of Russia's actions, which require Finland to put national security first,” Rantanen says.
Instrumentalisation of migration is one of Russia's means of exerting pressure and a way to affect the security and social stability of Finland and the EU. The Ministry of the Interior together with other ministries is currently looking for alternative ways to put an end to this phenomenon. However, adequate time should be given to conducting a thorough legislative analysis and drawing conclusions from it.