Russia Lodges Protest to Finnish Ambassador Over Closure of Border Checkpoints: Russian FM
© Sputnik . Vitaly BelousovRussian flags installed in Moscow for the Day of the State Flag of Russia (celebrated on August 22). In the background: the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
© Sputnik . Vitaly Belousov/
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Foreign Ministry has lodged a protest to Finnish Ambassador Antti Helantera over Helsinki’s decision to close border checkpoints between the countries, the ministry said on Monday.
Last Thursday, Finland announced that it had decided to close half of the checkpoints on the border with Russia due to the worsening situation with migrants. The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed protest against this decision.
"On November 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry held a conversation with the ambassador of Finland to Russia, A. Helantera. The Russian side protested in connection with the closure of the most actively used checkpoints on the Russian-Finnish state border by the Finnish authorities," the ministry said in a statement, and called Helsinki's decision "provocative."
The ministry added that the closure of checkpoints violated the rights of tens of thousands of citizens of both countries.
"The decision was made in a hurry, without any consultations with the Russian side, which had previously been an integral part of cooperation in ensuring the effective functioning of the joint border," the ministry said.
The Finnish Foreign Ministry said later in the day that Helantera went to the Russian Foreign Ministry not on Moscow's summons, but at Helsinki's request in order to lodge its own note of protest.
"The Ambassador conveyed Finland's point of view. After all, Finland has noticed that the Russian border authorities changed their working methods and that the arriving persons had been assisted in relocating. Of course, Finland is unhappy with the situation and the [diplomatic] actions taken are a consequence of it," Finnish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marja Liivala was quoted as saying by Finland’s IltaLehti news agency.
Last Thursday, the Finnish cabinet said it had decided to close four out of eight checkpoints on the border with Russia from November 18 to February 18, 2024 due to the deteriorating situation with migrants. Helsinki has accused Moscow of directing asylum seekers, mainly from the Middle East, to its border, with the number of asylum requests soaring to 60 a day, compared to a total of 91 arriving from August 1 to November 12. The Russian embassy in Finland told Sputnik that the Finnish government's measures were a cause for concern, and Russia would work on retaliatory measures.