6 Feb 2024 10:54

Finnish interior minister sees no possibility to reopen border with Russia

HELSINKI. Feb 6 (Interfax) - Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen does not find it possible at this point to reopen the crossing points on the border with Russia.

"We saw the consequences [of reopening the border] in December. There is no point in taking a second shot," Rantanen told Studio A of the Yle broadcaster on Monday.

The situation on Finland's eastern border has not changed, she said.

"On that side of the border there are many people waiting for their time. On the other side Russia's actions do not seem to have changed," she said.

Rantanen declined to say when the border could reopen. "By closing the border, the government cares for national and civil security above all," she said.

"We will not give in to pressure. The borders will stay closed for as long as it takes. We hope that the end to this is not far off, but not yet," Rantanen said.

On Saturday, Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said the closure of the border with Russia could be extended.

"Thousands of citizens of third countries are waiting in different border districts on the Russian side of the border to illegally cross into Finland," Orpo said.

Reopening the crossing points with Russia is out of the question in this situation, he said.

In November 2023, the Finnish government closed all eight passenger crossing points on the eastern border, citing mass passage of migrants to the Finnish border allegedly organized by the Russian side.

On December 14, two of the eight border crossings reopened, but the Finnish authorities again closed them on the same day for one month citing security reasons.

A similar decision was made on January 11. According to the Finnish government's latest decision, the eastern border will remain closed until February 11.