MOSCOW, November 20. /TASS/. Russia is very disappointed with Finland’s decision to potentially close all remaining border crossings, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"It causes nothing but deep regret, since we had long-standing, very good relations with Finland, pragmatic, based on mutual respect. Of course, we regret that these relations have been replaced by an entirely Russophobic position, which the leaders of this neighboring country have now begun to adhere to. Regretfully, this is the situation we are in today," he said.
"It is unlikely that we can influence [this situation - TASS] now, because there is no dialogue as such, through no fault of ours. Actually, we were not the initiators of curtailing the dialogue," he said in reply to a question.
Situation around border crossings
The Vartius, Salla, Kuusamo and Raja-Joseppi border crossings remain open for the time being. Vartius was closed at 6:00 p.m. local time (7:00 p.m. Moscow time) on November 18 and reopened at 8:00 a.m. (9:00 a.m. Moscow time) on November 19. On November 19, Finnish army units arrived at the Vartius checkpoint to assist border guards building a temporary barrier there.
Overnight to November 18, Finland closed four border checkpoints on the eastern border. Thus, according to Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, the authorities are reacting to the influx of "third-country nationals" to the eastern border of Finland, which has increased recently. According to Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen, the decision is in effect until February 18, 2024.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Finland's decision to close the border crossings on the border with Russia creates new dividing lines in Europe, and government agencies in Moscow will come up with a response to these actions.
Finnish authorities plan to close the entire border with Russia on Wednesday night, the Iltalehti newspaper reported, citing sources.