EU Sends Border Guards to Finland to Strengthen Border with Russia
The European Union's Frontex border guard service has deployed 55 of its personnel to monitor Finland's border with Russia amid the Finnish authorities' decision to temporarily close all border crossing points due to the influx of migrants, Deutsche Welle reports, citing Frontex spokesman Piotr Switalski.
According to Switalski, most of the border guards are officers of the Border Guard Service. The mission is currently limited to the end of January, but its duration can be changed "if necessary".
According to him, Frontex is aware that pressure using migrants is one of Russia's tools, so the agency expects Russia to continue to do so at the border.
"Of course, we are ready to change this (deployment parameters) if the situation changes. We can be here longer or shorter, depending on the need. We know that migration pressure is one of the tools used by the Kremlin, so we can expect this to continue," Switalski said.
Finnish border guards report that there are still "large groups of migrants from third countries" in the border area. The Finnish Border Guard expects that the current situation will not change for the better for a long time.
"Although, compared to the situation two weeks ago, some of them (migrants) have already moved to other regions of Russia on their own or on the instructions of the authorities," comments Finnish border guard Ville Joskitt.
He predicts that the situation at the border will last "for a long time".
Frontex announced the decision to deploy personnel, patrol vehicles and other equipment to the Finnish border area in late November in response to the situation on the border with Russia.
In doing so, Frontex is expanding its operation to secure the EU's external borders, strengthen EU security and prevent cross-border crime, Joint Operation Terra 2023. Previously, 10 employees of the European agency worked on the borders of Finland.
As The Gaze previously reported, Finland's border with Russia has been completely closed for at least two weeks since November 29, with only freight trains allowed to cross. The Finnish Border Guard is preparing to reopen the border crossing points on December 14.
The country took this step after asylum seekers and third-country nationals began arriving en masse at the checkpoints from Russia in November. Previously, Russian border guards did not allow travellers who did not have the documents required to enter Finland to leave.