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HELSINKI, August 25 /TASS/. The situation at two northern checkpoints on the Finnish-Russian border, where a special border crossing regime has been effective since April because of a refugee influx, is calm and fully controlled, the Finnish Ministry of the Interior's Permanent Secretary Päivi Nerg said in an interview with the MTV3 television channel on Thursday.
"The authorities (in both countries) are discussing the situation on the border. For the moment, it seems good. The situation at the Salla and Raja-Jooseppi border crossings is absolutely calm," Nerg stressed adding that a decision on prolongation of the special border crossing regime would be taken by the start of October.
Earlier, Finish Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko said that the Finnish government was planning to discuss the future of the special border crossing regime, which was established at the northern checkpoints on the Finnish-Russian border in April 2016 and has stopped the arrival of refugees from Russia. For the moment, only citizens of Russia, Finland and Belarus can enter Finland via the Salla and Raja -Jooseppi checkpoints in Lapland, the largest and northernmost region of Finland.
Approximately 32,500 refugees, most of them from Iraq (20,000), arrived in Finland in 2015. In 2014, the number of asylum seekers stood at around 4,000 people. Less than 4,000 refugees arrived in 2016. According to the latest reports, the Finnish government has not yet made a decision on about 20,000 applications from refugees who arrived in Finland from various countries last year despite the fact that initially the decision was expected late in August. About 10,000 Iraqis are waiting for the Finnish verdict.