European Union border agency Frontex has announced it will increase its number of guards on the Finnish border in response to a burgeoning migrant crisis emanating from Russia.
The move comes amid the arrival of hundreds of migrants without valid travel documents on Finland’s Eastern border. Finnish officials have responded by stating they will soon shut almost all crossing points with Russia.
In a press release published on November 23, Frontex announced that it will raise its number of staff on the ground from 10 to 50 imminently and deliver more equipment and patrol vehicles to help guard the European frontier.
Officials from the body are expected to arrive in Finland as soon as the week starting November 27.
“Frontex’s support to Finland goes beyond logistics; it’s a demonstration of the European Union’s unified stand against hybrid challenges affecting one of its members,” Frontex Executive Director Hans Leijtens said regarding the deployment.
Russia may be opening a new migration route to the EU in an apparent hostile move by sending illegal migrants to Finland. https://t.co/GGHHxxVhE8
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 14, 2023
The increase in guards comes amid growing nervousness in Finland.
Some Finnish officials have claimed the Russian Government is behind the soaring number of arrivals, with the migrants said to originate from the likes of Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.
“Russia has caused and allowed this situation,” Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said, adding that the Kremlin was also in a position to end the surge.
The country is now hoping that its plan to close all of the its Eastern border crossings with Russia, bar one in the far North, will see the crisis die off.
Similar instances of migrant waves arriving from Russia and its allies on the EU’s borders have not been solved so easily.
A surge in arrivals from Belarus into Poland was not stopped by closing the crossings between the two countries. Belarusian authorities opted to push migrants into the Polish border defences, resulting in riots.
Russia has allegedly engaged in similar so-called “hybrid attacks”, with Estonia accusing the Kremlin on November 22 of weaponising migrant surges against Europe.
“Quite frankly, the ongoing migration pressure on Europe’s Eastern border is a hybrid attack operation,” said the Estonian interior minister Lauri Laanemets.
Finland is closing down half of its border crossings with Russia, after a sharp rise in illegal migrants reaching Finland from Russia. https://t.co/Qpjuog4FqK
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 16, 2023