A big number of migrants making it towards the Finnish border-crossing point of Valimaa on 14th of December. Photo: telegram channel t.me/rus_fin_border

Chaotic on Finnish border as travellers rush to cross before closure

Huge lines and hours of waiting for the people trying to make it across the Russian-Finnish border ahead of today's indefinite closure. Among the travellers is also a big number of migrants without valid travel documents to Finland.
December 15, 2023


“Between Torfyanovka and Valimaa is a huge line towards Finland. Both cars and buses in the line. Migrants with bicycles move outside of the line,” a Russian man waiting to cross the border reported on a Telegram channel on Friday shortly before noon.


“Between the Torfyanovka and Valimaa is a huge line in the towards Finland.”


Photos from site show a major number of cars in the area between the Russian Torfyanovka border-crossing point and Finland’s Valimaa.

Judging from the images, the many cars and the migrants have created a chaotic situation

“There are very migrants here. I counted about 100 people along the road. They do not slow the line on the Russian side. Most of them are from Syria (I have talked with them myself),” the Russian traveler said.



“There are very many refugees. I counted about 100 people along the road,” writes a member of a Telegram group


It is the last day open border between the two countries. After only one day of operation, the Finnish Government in the evening of the 14th of December announced that the two border-crossing points of Valimaa and Niirala would again close. The closure comes into affect at 8 pm on the 15th of December.

The decision comes after Russia’s FSB border guards let almost 100 migrants without valid documents pass through the Russian side on December 14th.


Cars waiting to cross the border from Russia to Finland. Photo: from Telegram channel t.me/rus_fin_border


“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. 

Finland had held the border-crossing points closed for almost three weeks when the country’s government early this week announced that the Vaalimaa and Niirala crossing points would reopen on the 14th of December. But Prime Minister Petteri Orpo underlined that it was part of a test.

“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.”

That test now appears to be completed with a negative result. The border-crossing points will again be closed. Indefinitely.

The situation comes after more than 900 migrants in only few months made it from Russia to Finland. On November 18, the government announced the closure of four checkpoints in the south. Only four days later, three more checkpoints were closed, including the Salla border-crossing point in Lapland. On November 30, also the last remaining border-crossing point, the far northern Raja-Jooseppi, was closed.

Finnish authorities are confident that the flows of migrants are orchestrated by Moscow as part of a bid to de-stabilise the situation in the neighbouring country. Normally, people without valid visas are not allowed into the Russian border zone by the FSB Border Guard Service. Now, however, the border guards let migrants through the checkpoints without the travel documents.

Normally, there are eight border-crossing points open for travellers between Finland and Russia.





The Barents Observer Newsletter

After confirming you're a real person, you can write your email below and we include you to the subscription list.

Privacy policy