Raja-Jooseppi remains closed for now. Photo: Saara-Maria Salonen

Finland keeps northern border crossings closed, opens in south

Vaalimaa and Niirala checkpoints will open for traffic with Russia on December 14.
December 12, 2023


Opening of two checkpoints is a test, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said at a press conference in Helsinki on Tuesday.

“We cannot tell whether things have changed for the better without lifting some restrictions. That is why, after careful consideration, we are opening two border crossing points in a controlled manner.”

Finland in November closed its entire eastern border after Russia’s FSB Border Guard started to push migrants in a coordinated hybrid operation.

Like in 2015, FSB chose to let migrants enter the border zone when the winter arrived. Frozen migrants on bicycles on snowy roads attract media attention.

“We are prepared to quickly impose restrictions again. Finland will ensure its national security,” PM Orpo stressed with a clear signal to Moscow.

Up north, the Raja-Jooseppi checkpoint was the last to be closed. Now, both crossings between Lapland and Murmansk region, Raja-Jooseppi and Salla will remain without traffic.

The government’s decision will remain in force until January 14.


Finland will make sure that our eastern border does not become a new pathway for instrumentalized migration into Europe,” says Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen.

The Government says it is likely that a significant number of potential migrants remain on the Russian side of the border.

“The Russian authorities still have the capacity to instrumentalize migration towards Finland,” the statement from Helsinki reads.

  • More than 900 migrants have entered Finland from Russia since August and asked for asylum.
  • Finland closed four checkpoints in the south on November 18.
  • On November 22, three more checkpoints were closed including Salla in Lapland.
  • From November 24, only Raja-Jooseppi in Inari was open.
  • Raja-Jooseppi closed on November 30.
  • Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo says the migration wave is organized by Russian authorities.
  • Norway’s border crossing to the Murmansk region, at Storskog, has so far not seen any migrants this November asking for asylum. The Norwegian government has said the border can be closed in short notice if migrant troubles escalate.
  • Vaalimaa and Niirala reopen as a test from December 14. Other checkpoints remain closed until January 14. For now. 



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