Russian Governor: "Humanitarian crisis is unfolding on border to Finland"
“The situation can be called a humanitarian crisis,” Andrei Chibis wrote on Telegram late Tuesday 21st of November.
The social media post includes a video and photos that show a significant number of cars with migrants in the border area. It is freezing cold and many of the people appear to have little winter clothes.
“The foreigners are not able to cross the border and it is the Finnish side that is to blame,” Chibis says.
“The NATO country is artificially creating this jam, and about 300 people from more than 10 foreign countries are waiting not only hours, but already several days, to cross the border,” the regional leader adds.
The Russians have set up tents and footage shows how the migrants are served food and hot drinks. Chibis says his administration is doing “all it can to offer support,” and he argues that the Finns should show more mercy.
“In any situation it is very important to preserve a human face [and] I hope that Finnish authorities will not forget about this.”
But the apparent mercy of the governor notwithstanding, there are mounting evidence that the whole situation is staged by the Russian side.
A hotel receptionist in the north Russian town of Kandalaksha told the Barents Observer that migrants had spent the night in the hotel and that they were assisted by Russian services.
Also Finnish newspaper Helsinki Sanomat got confirmations from a hotel in the area that the FSB is organized transport to the border.
Finnish authorities are confident that the situation with growing migrant flows from Russia to Finland is orchestrated by Russian security services. When visiting the border crossing point of Vartius on Monday, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo explained that there are indications of an organized Russian effort to push the migrants to Finland.
“We will not accept this,” he told YLE. “If necessary, we will take further action.”
Finland last week closed four of its nine border crossing points to Russia. Since then, the migrants have moved north to the points that remain open.
The situation now appears most acute at the Salla border crossing point.
The accumulation of people in the border area is confirmed by locals. A man that traveled to the Russian border town of Alakurtti few days ago was surprised about the big number of cars and wondered why they all carry bicycles.
“There is a checkpoint near Alakurtti and there are very many cars there and for some reason they are all loaded with bicycles,” the man says in a video. “Probably, these are people that want to cross the border to Finland. I do not know what is going on there, I only showed my passport and then proceeded,” he explains.
When passing the local guesthouse in Alakurtti, the same man expressed surprise that a big backpack, shoes and other gear was placed in front of the entrance door.
It is not clear whether the things belonged to one of the persons that try to make it across the border.