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16 Jan, 2024 08:55

Russia to deport Syrian migrants

The individuals came to the far northern Murmansk Region seeking entry to the EU via Finland
Russia to deport Syrian migrants

A local court in Murmansk Region, northern Russia, has ordered the deportation of three Syrian migrants who entered the country with the intention of crossing into the EU, Interfax reported on Tuesday.

The Syrians were found guilty of violating the regulations of their stay in Russia, the court told the outlet. The migrants will face a fine of 2,000 rubles ($22.80), and deportation from the Russian Federation. Two Indian citizens and one citizen of Iraq will face a similar punishment meted out by another court in the region.

More than 400 migrants made their way to Murmansk Region from Africa and the Middle East last November. At the peak of the crisis, 300 were gathered at the Salla border crossing with neighboring Finland, leading local Russian authorities to put the emergency services on alert.

Relations between Moscow and Helsinki have deteriorated rapidly since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, which led to Finland breaking its decades-long neutrality and joining NATO. Accusing Moscow of orchestrating a migrant crisis on its frontier, Finland gradually began to close its border crossings with Russia starting on November 18, and all entry was barred by the end of the month.

The closure of Finland’s eastern border was extended until February 11 on Monday. According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, any claims that Russia has played a part in the EU’s migration crisis are based on bogus reports. Over 330,000 illegal immigrants crossed into the bloc between January and October 2023, she stated at a press briefing last Friday, citing statistics from Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. Meanwhile, “according to data from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Finnish Immigration Service, a little more than 800 people crossed from Russia in November,” Zakharova concluded.