STOCKHOLM, November 30. /TASS/. The Finnish authorities have installed a system of double reinforced fences on the Nordic country’s frontier with Russia, along which all border crossings remain shuttered, the Yle news outlet reported, citing Lieutenant Colonel Jukka Lukkari, Deputy Commander of the Southeast Finland Border Guard.
"At the moment the border posts are closed. Barriers have been set up both at the state border and inland. If people arrive, we will direct them to where they can enter Finland legally," he said. Lukkari added that if people approach the border from the Russian side, the Finnish Border Guard will "show them the way," but if they are "in a particularly vulnerable position," the border guards are ready to "do their duty and take care of them by transferring them to the Finnish side."
Lukkari said that Finnish border guards and their counterparts from Frontex, the EU's border control agency, were already "focused on important sections" of the border. He said that in the event of attempts to breach the border, security forces would take all necessary measures to "keep the situation under control, guide people and prevent violent actions."
In the early morning hours of November 18, Finland closed four checkpoints on its eastern border with Russia: Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niiral. According to Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, the authorities are responding to the recent increase in the number of "third-country nationals" arriving at Finland's eastern border. As per Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen, the decision will remain in effect until February 18, 2024. He announced on November 27 that the last functioning checkpoint on the border with Russia, Raja-Jooseppi (called Lotta on the Russian side), would also be closed. Finnish Border Guard Spokesman Matti Sarasmaa specified that rail service between Finland and Russia will not be interrupted. As well, Reuters quoted the Finnish government as saying that the restrictions on the border with Russia would not affect freight traffic.