The Finnish authorities plan to close the entire border with Russia on Wednesday evening, Iltalehti newspaper reported on Monday.
According to the newspaper, the government of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo could decide today to close the remaining checkpoints on the border with Russia. These checkpoints are expected to be closed at 12 noon local time on Wednesday.
Checkpoints Vartius, Salla, Kuusamo and Raja-Jooseppi will remain open for the time being. The Vartius checkpoint was closed at 18:00 on 18 November and reopened at 08:00 on 19 November.
On November 19, Finnish armed forces arrived at the Vartius checkpoint to help border guards erect a temporary barrier there.
In the early morning hours of November 18, Finland closed four checkpoints on its eastern border – Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niiral.
According to Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, the authorities are responding to a recent increase in the number of “third-country nationals” arriving at Finland’s eastern border.
According to Finnish Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen, the decision will remain in force until February 18, 2024.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Finland’s decision to close border checkpoints with Russia creates new lines of division in Europe, and government agencies in Moscow will respond to those actions.