Finland closes crossings at Russian border

Finland has responded to the rising number of migrants without visas arriving at its border with Russia by closing four of its eight border crossings and setting up additional barriers. According to the authorities, most of those seeking to cross the Russian border into Finland without valid documents are from the Middle East, Africa, Iraq and Yemen.

Etelä-Suomen Sanoma (FI) /

Security comes first

National security is the ultimate priority, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat stresses:

“Finland must also consider moral issues: to what extent do international treaties require asylum applications to be processed, or should asylum seekers be left at the mercy of this icy weather between the barriers at the border? However, Finland’s security comes first. No compromises can be made here. For example, how can we be sure that there are no soldiers or activists among the arrivals? If the situation requires a complete closure of the border, then it must be closed.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Moscow only benefits in the short term

Helsingin Sanomat examines the consequences for Russia:

“For Russia, the closure of the borders is fine if it wants to become a closed police state like the Soviet Union. Drafted men can no longer slip away to the West and other citizens won’t be exposed to harmful influences. But this theory is not watertight. Russia’s borders with Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan and other countries, via which many Russian men have already fled the mobilisation, remain open. ... Moreover, the Kremlin is shooting itself in the foot by making it more difficult to smuggle sanctioned goods across the Finnish land border.”

Postimees (EE) /

Joint defence of eastern border needed

Russia has already sent refugees to Narva, Estonia’s closest border crossing to Finland, Postimees writes in consternation:

“Estonia must be prepared to fend off the migratory pressure that Russia is exerting on several of its neighbouring countries in the form of a hybrid war. However, this defence will be most effective if done in cooperation with Estonia’s neighbours and the European Union. Moscow and Minsk continue to put the EU to the test — clearly if the European Union’s eastern border does not hold up, the Schengen Area will also begin to fall apart as EU member states start to close their borders.”