Norway’s Minister of Justice of Emilie Enger Mel said that her country will be closely monitoring its border with Russia and is prepared to follow Finland in closing it off if it sees a similar surge in the numbers of asylum seekers trying to cross from its neighbor.
“We are following the situation closely, and it may be appropriate for us to close the border at short notice if necessary,” Enger Mehl said Thursday, according to an NTB report.
Finland is set to close four of its eight border crossing with Russia early on Saturday – accusing Moscow of deliberately turning a blind eye to illegal migrants, AFP reported.
Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia and has seen a surge in illegal crossings since August – primarily nationals from the Middle East and Africa arriving without visas.
Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo accused Russia of acting to deliberately destabilize Finland in response to its joining NATO in April.
“We have been prepared for different kinds of actions, malice, by Russia, and therefore this situation doesn't come as a surprise,” Orpo said.
Norway’s far northern land border with Russia is much smaller, about 198 kilometers (123 miles) long, hasn’t yet seen a similar increase in either legal or attempted illegal crossings.
In 2016, Norway erected a 200-meter-long (660 feet), 3.5-meter high (11-foot) security fence there when a trickle of asylum seekers became a flood in 2015, when that autumn around 5,500 Syrian migrants crossed into the country.
In comments to Norway’s Barents Observer, Enger Mehl has said: “We should be prepared for rapid changes…The war in Ukraine causes changes all the time.”
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