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HELSINKI, January 15. /TASS/. Finland and Russia need to reach mutual understanding on the issue of refugees’ arrival through the Russian-Finnish border near Lapland, Finland’s Interior Minister Petteri Orpo has said.
"Risks will be big if we fail to find common ground," the minister told the Savon Sanomat newspaper.
Finland’s authorities earlier said Russia allows refugees to go to Finland without Schengen visas. "In future, it should be so that leaving for Finland without the necessary documents is prohibited," Orpo said.
The minister also said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Kolokoltsev is preparing to arrive in Finland to discuss migration issues. "We are getting ready for the meeting at the level of ministers in the near future. I hope it will take place. Both sides have the intention to solve the problem," he stressed.
"Both Russia and Finland want the criminal actions to be stopped and a normal cross-border cooperation to continue," Orpo added.
By the end of 2016, up to 7,500 refugees could come to Finland through the border with Russia, according to the Finnish border guard service. Last year, some 32,500 refugees, mostly from Iraq, came to Finland, the country’s migration authorities said. In 2014, the number of asylum seekers reached just 4,000.