As soon as Finland reopened its border to Russia, groups of migrants moved towards the border-crossing points. Screenshot of video

Crowd of migrants gets ready for border-crossing to Finland

As soon as Finland announced the reopening of its border to Russia, migrants started to move towards the border-crossing points. Videos show a significant number of migrants preparing to cross the border from Russia to Finland by bicycle.
December 14, 2023


As Finland on the 14th of December reopened the border-crossing points of Vaalimaa and Niirala after more than three weeks of closure, groups of migrants again started to move towards the checkpoints.

A video obtained by the Barents Observer shows at least 15 people preparing to cross the border. All of them are given bicycles, many of them children’s bikes. A car parked on site can be seen carrying  several more bikes.

The footage appears to be filmed by one of the migrants and it is posted on an Arabic-language Telegram channel.

“Thank God, I am ok and safe. Thank God, I am safe,” a person on the video says.


Screenshot of video from border area towards Finland.


The site of the video is a Russian checkpoint located about five kilometres from the Russian border-crossing point of Torfyanovka. Only few hundred meters away from Torfyanovka is the Finnish border-crossing point of Valimaa.



Migrants are provided bicycles by a checkpoint located about five km from the border-crossing point. Screenshot of video


Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo on Tuesday this week announced that two southern border-crossing points to Russia will be reopened. It is a test, he explained.

“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.

According to Orpo, Finland is ready to quickly again close the border if necessary.

On the move towards the border. Screenshot of video of migrants on their way towards the Russian-Finnish border, posted on an Arabic-language Telegram

“We are prepared to quickly impose restrictions again. Finland will ensure its national security,” PM Orpo stressed. The current regime is planned to last until 14th of January 2024.

Following the influx of more than 900 migrants in only few months, Finland on November 18 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.

Moscow is unlikely to change policy any time soon.

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

According to the Finnish Border Guard service, a number of asylum seekers in the morning of 14th November made it also to the border-crossing point of Niirala.

Before noon, a total of 24 people had crossed to border at Niirala, the border guards inform om X.





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