Finland could block asylum seekers from entering via Russia

By Thomson Reuters Mar 15, 2024 | 6:08 AM

HELSINKI (Reuters) -Finland plans to adopt temporary legislation that will allow the country’s border authorities to block asylum seekers arriving via Russia from entering the Nordic nation, Interior Minister Mari Rantanen and Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on Friday.

Finland closed all crossings on its 1,340 km (830 mile) border with Russia late last year amid a growing number of arrivals who lacked valid documents to enter the European Union.

A few asylum seekers have still arrived during the winter, however, and the government believes the numbers could rise significantly as temperatures get milder in the spring.

Helsinki accuses Moscow of funnelling migrants to the border, a claim the Kremlin has denied.

“Finland must be prepared for the possibility that Russia will exert prolonged pressure,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

(Reporting by Essi Lehto, editng by Anna Ringstrom)