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7 Feb, 2024 11:03

Finland avoiding dialogue – Moscow

Helsinki refuses to discuss alleged threats coming from the Russian side of the border, the Foreign Ministry has said
Finland avoiding dialogue – Moscow

The political nature of Finland’s refusal to reopen its borders with Russia is evidenced by the fact that Helsinki is rejecting any suggestion of talks with Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told to RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

Finnish authorities are expected to make a new decision on the status of the Russian border on Thursday. However, Finnish media outlet Ilta Sanomat has claimed that the country’s government intends to keep the border closed until at least February 11 and is looking for a more “sustainable solution beyond simply temporarily extending the closure again.”

Finland closed all land crossings with Russia in late November 2023, citing an influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East seeking to enter the country. Helsinki has accused Moscow of orchestrating the surge in asylum seekers, calling it a “hybrid operation.”

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo also stated over the weekend that reopening the border is currently seen as impossible, as there are still allegedly “thousands of people” waiting to illegally come to Finland from Russia. 

Moscow has vehemently rejected the allegations of being responsible for the supposed surge in migrants. Russia has described Helsinki’s position on the joint border a throwback to the times of the Cold War and stressed that such decisions only serve to create new dividing lines in Europe.

“The Finnish side’s statements about the impossibility of opening the border with Russia do not carry any novelty and are dictated, in our opinion, by the exclusively politicized approach of the Finnish authorities to the issues of ensuring the functioning of the joint border,” Zakharova said.

She added that Helsinki “stubbornly refuses to discuss with us the threats to the security of Finland allegedly emanating from the Russian side of the border,” and stressed that the key to overcoming the current situation at the border is to have a “direct and constructive dialogue between the border services of the two states.”

The Kremlin has also repeatedly rejected Helsinki’s accusations of orchestrating a “hybrid attack” on Finland using third country migrants. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called such claims “completely baseless” and expressed “deep regret” that Helsinki has replaced friendly relations with Russia with an “exclusively Russophobic position.”