Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Finland closes border again after test-reopening made FSB send new wave of migrants

Russian FSB border guard service allowed for 93 migrants to cross the Niirala border with Finland on Thursday, a move Helsinki says is a “hybrid operation” that will not be tolerated.
December 15, 2023


Finland’s government decided to close border crossing points between Finland and Russia up to the 14th of January 2024.

The rapid conclusion was made the same evening as two southern checkpoints reopened after being closed since November 30 following a wave of more than 900 migrants from Russia.

The Vaalimaa and Niirala checkpoints will be closed at 20.00 on Friday, December 15.

Raja, the Finnish border guard service, said 93 migrants asked for asylum at Niirala crossing on Thursday. The people were mainly from Somalia, Syria and India.

The Barents Observer could shortly after the border opened on Thursday tell about crowds of migrants on bicycles making ready for Finland.

A video posted on social media showed happy young men near the Russian Torfyanovka checkpoint, a few hundred meters east of the Finnish checkpoint Valimaa.

“This is a sign that the Russian authorities are continuing their hybrid operation against Finland. This is something that Finland will not tolerate,” said Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen at a presser in Helsinki. 


According to the Finnish authorities, it is clear that this type of entry in Finland has been aided by foreign authorities or other actors. Elements of international crime are also involved. This type of irregular immigration and the prospect of its escalation pose a serious threat to national security and public order in Finland.


FSB Border Guards in the Murmansk region are normally patrolling the border with Norway and Finland. Photo: Thomas Nilsen


The Government determined that since this type of entry into the country continued, it was necessary to pass a Government resolution to close the border crossing points at Vaalimaa and Niirala again. As a result, applications for international protection at Finland’s external borders will only be received by border crossing points at airports and seaports.

From tonight, Norway’s Storskog checkpoint in the far north is the only open land border from Russia to the Nordic. 

Norwegian authorities have previously said they are ready to shut down traffic at Storskog “in a few hours’ notice” if Russia decides to send a wave of migrants. 


Screenshot of video from border area towards Finland.




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