HELSINKI, October 11. /TASS/. Russia and Finland have taken steps in the right direction to solve the problem of refugees arriving over the border, this sort of productive cooperation should continue, Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini told TASS on Tuesday.
"In my opinion, a half a year ago we took a very wise and positive decision together with Russia, adopting the special border zone agreement, it expired on October 6. This is valuable practice. I am content that Finnish and Russian border agencies will work together in a coherent manner, without any downsides to be seen. I hope this trend continues," the minister said.
In April, Moscow and Helsinki introduced special zones at two northern crossings on the state border for half a year, in order to prevent the refugees from entering Finland from Russia’s territory. At this time, only the citizens of Russia, Finland and Belarus are eligible to cross the border at the Raja-Jooseppi and Salla border crossings. However, the relevant agreement expired on October 6.
Some politicians worried that a new barrage of the asylum seekers would follow but not a single refugee has arrived in Finland via the northern border crossings on the Russian-Finnish border since then.
In 2015, around 32,500 migrants arrived in Finland, 20,000 of them were Iraqis. In 2014 about 4,000 asylum seekers were registered in the country. This year their statistics have exceeded that number.