The Finnish authorities arrested 18 migrants, including women and children, on Finland’s closed land border with Russia, one week after the disappearance of 160 migrants who had applied for asylum in Finland.
The Finnish border guard said the group was suspected of illegally crossing a forested area north of the Imatra border crossing and consisted of men, women and children, according to “InfoMigrants” website.
According to preliminary information, these people came from the Middle East and applied for asylum. Border guard Jussi Vainicka told Finnish radio station “Yel” that they came in the middle of the night, and were hungry and cold.
Finland’s 1,340-kilometer border with Russia has been closed for weeks after Finnish border guards recorded a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers, especially from the Middle East, who arrived from Russia without the necessary documents and applied for asylum in Finland.
Finland accused Russia of deliberately using asylum seekers to put pressure on the European Union and NATO, and Moscow denied this.
The border closure is currently in effect until February 11. Despite the closed border, according to the Finnish government, people continue to enter from Russia illegally.
Just last week, 15 migrants crossed the land border into Finland, which was not only illegal but also very dangerous in the cold and heavy snow, Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen told the German editorial network (RND), one should expect that Russia will continue to try to destabilize Finland and Europe.
According to the Finnish Immigration Authority, 160 migrants who applied for asylum in Finland disappeared after arriving at its eastern border coming from Russia last year.
According to the Border Guard, about 900 asylum seekers from countries including Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Kenya, Morocco, and Pakistan entered during November.
The Finnish government accuses Russia of responsibility for the influx of refugees, considering it a “coordinated move” by Moscow, in response to Finland’s decision to increase defense cooperation with the United States, while the Kremlin denies this.