Russia’s attempts to flood the Finnish border with migrants are “deliberate, cynical and hybrid actions” aimed at sowing anxiety and discontent, Finnish European Affairs Minister Anders Adlercreutz said.
“It’s not really about trying to get a lot of people across the border,” Adlercreutz said in an interview Thursday. “It’s a proof of concept, making us realize that he sees this type of hybrid action as a tool that he can use whenever he deems it appropriate or necessary.”
On Tuesday, Finland completely closed its border with Russia for two weeks, amid growing accusations that Moscow was encouraging asylum seekers to cross its border into the EU and a NATO country.
Since then, Adlercreutz said, “the situation has calmed down,” with virtually no traffic at the border, which he said is another indication that these actions were deliberate.
While Adlercreutz said the number of migrants itself was not large enough to overwhelm Finland’s resources – about 1,000 people in the past two weeks – he said there were “indications clear that this was systematic, organized,” including migrants arriving in groups, with similar equipment. , and share stories about their crossing.
And as Finland gradually began closing border crossings — before announcing the full closure — Adlercreutz said he noticed migrants moving quickly toward open borders, which he said “indicates that…someone ‘one has information about the decisions, our actions and that he was already ready to thwart them.
The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported last week that Russian embassies had started issuing visas to people from the Horn of Africa to enter Russia and then continue their journey to the Finnish border with the help of the Finnish services. security of the Kremlin. Moscow has repeatedly denied these claims.
Although Adlercreutz did not confirm this information, he said that some of the most common countries of origin included Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Tensions between Russia and Finland have escalated since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, prompting Finland to join the NATO military alliance.
The situation on the Finnish-Russian border is reminiscent of a similar crisis two years ago, when Poland accused the Belarusian government of sending people from the Middle East across its borders with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland in order to exercise pressure on the EU.