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Authorities in northern Russia warn migrants could freeze

January 19, 12:47 UTC+3 MURMANSK
The Salla checkpoint through which most refugees cross the Russian border with Finland remains one of the coldest areas in the Murmansk region
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© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

MURMANSK, January 19. /TASS/. Authorities of northern Russia’s Murmansk region have advised migrants from the Middle East countries traveling to Finland not to stay in cars near the border checkpoints during the freezing weather.

The Salla checkpoint through which most refugees cross the Russian border with Finland remains one of the coldest areas in the Murmansk region.

"At the moment between 5 and 20 people cross the Russian-Finnish border via the checkpoint every day. It is dangerous to stay near the temporary border post when the air temperature decreases sharply and people should understand this," First Deputy Governor of the Murmansk region, Alexei Tyukavin, told local officials at a meeting on Tuesday.

Andrei Ivanov, who heads the administration of the Kandalakshsky district, in the Murmansk region's south, said transit migrants can stay in local hotels rather than wait in the open air during the extreme frost. The refugees should also get the latest information on the number of people the Finnish side plans to accept, he said.

The local weather prediction center said the temperature in the Murmansk region is expected to fall to as low as minus 35 degrees Celsius (-31 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday and to minus 40 degrees Celsius on Wednesday and Thursday.

Regional authorities say so far no cases of frostbite have been officially confirmed. Media reports said on Monday that an Indian refugee died in a car while waiting in the customs queue.

An investigation into the death of the 33-year-old man has been launched. The regional government earlier told TASS the refugee died of a cardiovascular disease, according to experts.

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