What's happening on the Russian-Finnish border?

A growing number of asylum seekers are heading for Finland via Russia. The Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä is meeting with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the situation. Is Moscow working with smuggler gangs to provoke the EU?

Open/close all quotes
Keskisuomalainen (FI) /

Moscow putting all Europe to the test

The situation on the border is at the top of the agenda at the meeting between Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg today. The liberal conservative daily Keskisuomalainen speculates on the reasons for Russia's new border policy:

“There are likely several reasons for the situation on the eastern border. Firstly the growing economic crisis in Russia is making work migrants feel less welcome and driving them to move on. The obvious collaboration between border authorities and criminals, however, also points to Russia wanting to use Finland to test the EU outer border and the EU's reaction. The message is that Russia is a major power and will respond to any attempts to exclude it through various means. … The affair must be cleared up quickly, otherwise the border will have to be closed.”

Karjalainen (FI) /

Finland just a pawn

Russia is deliberately letting refugees without valid travel documents enter Finland, the liberal daily Karjalainen is convinced:

“Finland must remain firm and demand that Russia comply with the border agreement as it has done in the past. If it doesn't an uncontrollable number of refugees could flood the border crossings from Russia. ... Of course those in need must be helped and not turned away, but in general Russia is a safe country for refugees. Beccause of its geographic location Finland has become a pawn in the crisis between Russia and the EU. The refugee crisis is putting all of Europe to the test, and Russia is using it to drive a wedge between the member states - particularly because of the sanctions imposed on it as a result of the war in Ukraine.”