War in Europe The EU reinforces Finland's border with Russia amid suspicions that this country is driving a wave of migrants

The European Union border agency said Thursday that it will send dozens of agents and supplies to reinforce Finnish border police amid suspicions that Russia is behind the wave of migrants arriving in the country

War in Europe The EU reinforces Finland's border with Russia amid suspicions that this country is driving a wave of migrants

The European Union border agency said Thursday that it will send dozens of agents and supplies to reinforce Finnish border police amid suspicions that Russia is behind the wave of migrants arriving in the country. Frontex said it will send a "significant reinforcement" of 50 officers, patrol officers and other equipment, arriving next week.

Some 600 migrants without visas or proper documentation have arrived in Finland so far this month, compared to a few dozen in September and October. Among them are Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Kenyans, Moroccans and Somalis.

On Wednesday, Finnish border agents and soldiers began erecting barriers and concrete blocks topped by barbed wire at several crossings of the Nordic country's long border with Russia.

Last week, the government closed four crossings with Russia over suspicions that Russian border authorities were playing dirty. It will only leave one Arctic crossing open for asylum seekers. The Kremlin rejects the allegations.

Frontex CEO Hans Leijtens said the sending of reinforcements is "a demonstration of the European Union's unified position against the multiple challenges affecting one of its members."

Finland has nine crossings with Russia on a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border that is both the EU's eastern border and a significant part of NATO's northeastern flank. Finnish officials believe Russia has become more hostile since the country joined NATO in April.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said the problems at the Finnish border caused her a feeling of "deja vu". Two years ago, Belarus began ferrying migrants to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in what European authorities saw as an attempt to destabilize the 27-nation bloc.

"The Finnish border is the border of the EU," Johansson told the European Parliament in a message of support for Finland. "The European Union stands behind you. You can count on our full support to protect the EU border and defend fundamental rights."

In this context, Finland will close seven of the eight border crossings on its eastern border with Russia starting tonight, an extraordinary measure that will last until Christmas Eve.

After closing last Thursday the four southern border posts, the busiest due to their proximity to Saint Petersburg, the Finnish Government has chosen to also close those located in Vartius, Kuusamo and Salla, leaving only the Raja-Jooseppi one open, in the northern end of the border.

The Executive of the Nordic country - whose Minister of the Interior, Mari Rantanen, belongs to the far-right True Finns party - had the intention of closing the border firmly, but the Chancellery of Justice prevented it, alleging that at this time the requirements are not met. requirements to adopt such a drastic measure.

The Finnish Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, stated at a press conference on Wednesday that the closure of the seven border crossings is the most severe measure he can take in the current circumstances, although he did not rule out a total closure if the migration crisis continues to worsen. "Our task is to ensure the security of the Finns and also the security of the borders," Orpo said.

Finland accuses Moscow of instrumentalizing migration to try to destabilize the Nordic country after its recent entry into NATO, although the Kremlin denies this and blames the Helsinki leaders for Russophobia.

According to immigration authorities, in the month of November alone, around 700 asylum seekers from third countries have arrived in Finland via Russia, mainly from the Middle East and Somalia, compared to the 91 who arrived in total in the previous three months. .