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MURMANSK, November 5 /TASS/. A record number of Middle East refugees crossed the Russian-Norwegian border in Russia’s northern Murmansk region on Russia’s National Unity Day on November 4, a border directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) for the Republic of Karelia, said.
"The biggest number of refugees (196) was recorded on November 4. Previous reports said that from 30 to 40 refugees managed to get through the border every day," Denis Rozolinsky, the directorate’s spokesperson, told TASS on Thursday.
According to the directorate, the refugee problem is a source of serious concern both for Russian and Norwegian border guards. Both countries have prepared a package of measures designed to organize the asylum seekers’ legal passage through the Russian-Norwegian state border. That made it possible to increase the refugee flows.
Syrians and citizens of other Middle East states arrive in Murmansk by train predominantly from Moscow. In Murmansk, they take a taxi to drive them to the border with Norway. A source at one of the local transportation companies told TASS that taxi drivers in Murmansk used to fight for the refugees some time ago and prices for transporting them to the border went up multiple times. Now, the situation is calm. The taxi drivers are engaged in honest competition. Road traffic police and ordinary police patrols are on duty at the airport and in the border areas.
There is a law that forbids crossing the border on foot. That is why the refugees are crossing the border by bicycle. A car trip to the border costs $150. Refugees pay another $150 to hire a bicycle and ride through a border checkpoint.