Refugees lined up at Storskog border checkpoint last autumn. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Putin orders FSB to strengthen control over refugees in transit to Europe

Murmansk police arrests organiser of human trafficking, but the number of asylum seekers to Finnish Lapland remains high.
February 29, 2016

“We should tighten monitoring of the refugee flows coming into Russia or transiting onwards to European countries,” the Russian President on Friday told the collegium of FSB.

Russia’s Border Service is a branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB). 

Last autumn, more than 5,500 asylum seekers travelled via Russia’s Kola Peninsula and came to Norway at the Storskog border checkpoint. Today, nobody enters Norway in the north, but migrants are instead entering Finland at the checkpoints of Salla and Raja-Jooseppi.

More than 1,000 persons coming via Murmansk region have since New Year applied for asylum, informs the Finnish Border Guard.

Vladimir Putin’s instruction to the FSB tighter monitor the flow of migrants have so far not had significant any impact on the traffic across the border. According to Finnish broadcaster YLE, 32 asylum seekers crossed the border at Salla and five came via Raja-Jooseppi this weekend. In week 8, a total of 117 asylum seekers came to Lapland, down from 154 the week before.

In Murmansk, a person was last week arrested for organizing refugee trafficking from the Middle East to Norway and Finland, newsportal Flashnord reports citing the Chief of Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Maxim Smirnov.

The detained is suspected of being leader of a criminal group organizing transport of migrants to the borders.

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