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HomeFinlandEyewitnesses: Russia No Longer Allowing Asylum Seekers Across Border

Eyewitnesses: Russia No Longer Allowing Asylum Seekers Across Border

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An asylum seeker interviewed by the Finnish news agency STT on Thursday said that Russian border authorities had told him that asylum seekers will no longer be allowed to cross the border from Russia into Finland.

He managed to cross the border on Wednesday, but according to him, his friends on the Russian side were turned away at the border.

The Syrian man said that, according to his friends, they were told that their next option would be to cross the border from the far northwest of Russia into Norway, more than 1,500 km north of the Vaalimaa crossing point in southeast Finland.

STT was unable to confirm the information. However, according to figures from the Border Guard, only a handful of asylum seekers arrived in Finland over the eastern border overnight, while 75 had crossed the border on Wednesday.

The Southeast Finland Border Guard said that five people had crossed by 6am, with no more crossing by noon.

Norwegian Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl told Reuters on Thursday that her country was also ready to close its border at short notice if necessary.

Telegram message: “Border guards stopped them”

Russian-language Telegram groups about travelling to Finland share similar information.

In messages seen by Yle, an eyewitness said that he saw a group of asylum seekers at the first Russian checkpoint near the city of Vyborg.

“It seemed that the border guards stopped them and did not let them go on,” he wrote.

According to other eyewitnesses, no migrants on bicycles – the most common mode of entry recently – have been seen near the border.

Last Thursday, Finland said it would no longer allow people to enter via southeastern border crossings on bicycles, only in motor vehicles. However, Russian officials have continued to let cyclists through.

The Finnish government scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon to discuss border control measures, after cancelling one planned for Wednesday evening.

Source: Yle

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