Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said: “Border crossing points are used by those who have the legal right to do so, and in this regard our border guards fully comply with all their official instructions.”
The Kremlin also commented on information that Finland could close all border crossing points with Russia.
“It is very regrettable, because we have had long-term, very good relations with Finland, pragmatic and based on mutual respect,” Peskov said.
The European Union (EU) has said Finland has seen an increase in the number of illegal immigrants coming through Russia and has condemned Moscow for using disgraced migrants to put pressure on other countries.
Helsinki announced on Thursday that it will close four of its eight border crossings with Russia starting this weekend due to an increase in the number of illegal immigrants. Finnish Prime Minister Peteri Orpo stated that Russia is deliberately trying to destabilize the neighboring country in response to its joining NATO.
European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen said in a conversation with Orpo on Thursday that “Russia’s instrumentalization of migrants is shameful.”
EC Press Secretary Kristians Wiegands announced on Friday that an increase in the number of illegal immigrants arriving via Russia has been detected in Finland. “We are following the situation closely. We are in contact with the Finnish authorities and the Finnish border guards,” Wiegand said.
Helsinki’s relations with Moscow have deteriorated since Russia’s repeated invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which prompted Finland to join NATO. Finland’s 1,340-kilometer long border with Russia is the EU’s external border and NATO’s eastern flank.
In Finland, the number of people crossing the border without proper documents has increased since August. They are mainly citizens of the Middle East and African countries, according to the Finnish border guard. Around 280 asylum seekers have arrived at the border since September, the border guard announced on Thursday.
“Member states have an obligation to protect the external borders, and it is they who are best able to determine how to do this in practice, fully respecting fundamental rights,” Wiegand said.