Finland shuts all passenger crossings to Russia but one, here's why

Raja-Jooseppi located in the northern Arctic region is the only open gate

finland Migrants arrive at the Raja-Jooseppi international border crossing station in Inari, northern Finland | AFP

Finland has temporarily closed all but one of its eight passenger crossings to Russia in response to an unusually high inflow of migrants for which the Nordic country accuses Moscow.

More than 700 migrants from nations including Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, have in the past few weeks entered Finland via Russia. Helsinki says Moscow is funnelling them to the border, a charge the Kremlin denies.

Having last week closed four border stations, Finland overnight closed all remaining passenger crossings except its northernmost one, Raja-Jooseppi located in the northern Arctic region, for a month.

Raja-Jooseppi opened its gates for traffic at 0800 GMT on Friday and will continue to accept asylum applications during its four daily opening hours, the Finnish Border Guard said.

On Thursday, 92 illegal migrants arrived at the Salla and Vartius border crossings before they shut but no migrants turned up overnight outside opening hours, it added.

Separately, the Finnish Border Guard said on Friday it expects dozens of officers from the European Union's Frontex border agency to help patrol the 1,340 km (833 mile) border with Russia from next week."Their task will primarily be to patrol the land border under the supervision of the Finnish Border Guards and to support them," Border Security Expert Arttu Maaranen told Reuters.

He said the border guards were preparing for all scenarios, including one in which migrants attempted to cross into Finland through forests spanning the frontier."We have requested equipment needed for monitoring and surveillance, including a thermal camera vehicle," he said.

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