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Finland closes sea checkpoints near border with Russia until mid-April

Friday, 5 April 2024, 22:34

The Finnish government has decided to temporarily close the sea border checkpoints in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland to private boats to prevent migrants trying to enter the EU from Russia using this route. 

Source: Yle, European Pravda reports

In addition to the decision not to reopen the ground border checkpoints with Russia, which have been closed almost continuously since 30 November, Finland closed the sea checkpoints in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland, near the border with Russia, to private boats until 15 April.


Quote: "As the season is changing, this is our proactive measure to prevent instrumentalised migration from spreading to sea routes... It seems that the current situation of instrumentalised migration will continue for a long time. We do not see any signs that the situation will change for the better," explains Marko Turunen, a representative of the Finnish Border Guard Service.

He stressed that attempts to get to Finland by sea would be life-threatening, as the Baltic Sea has harsher weather conditions than the Mediterranean – the water is very cold even during summer.

"The organisers of illegal migration, criminal organisations, do not care about the safety of people. In the Mediterranean Sea, people are 'packed' into bad boats. These are unnecessary risks for these people," he added.

Mikko Hirvi, Deputy Commander of the Gulf of Finland Border Guard, says that this preventive measure will not have much impact on how people can use their private yachts. He said that since the beginning of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, the use of these sea checkpoints has decreased to a minimum. 

Announcing the extension of the ground border closure, Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen noted that there are hundreds to thousands of migrants on the Russian side of the border who could be used as a tool of pressure on Finland.

Reports also indicated that the Finnish Border Guard Service had launched an investigation into about two dozen cases related to the organisation of illegal entry into Finland through the border with Russia.

Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen called on the European Union to develop a joint response to Russia's use of migration to the EU as a weapon.

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