STOCKHOLM, November 20. /TASS/. Finnish authorities plan to close the entire border with Russia on Wednesday night, the Iltalehti newspaper reported, citing sources.
According to the newspaper, the government of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo may decide on Monday to close the remaining checkpoints on the border with Russia. These checkpoints are expected to be closed at 12:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday (10:00 p.m. GMT).
The Vartius, Salla, Kuusamo and Raja-Jooseppi checkpoints will remain open for the time being. The Vartius checkpoint was closed at 6:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. GMT) on November 18 and reopened at 8:00 a.m. (6:00 a.m. GMT) on November 19. On November 19, the Finnish armed forces arrived at the Vartius checkpoint to help border guards erect a temporary barrier there.
In the early morning hours of November 18, Finland closed four checkpoints on its eastern border: Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niiral. According to Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, the authorities are responding to the recent increase in the number of “third-country nationals” arriving at Finland’s eastern border. Per Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen, the decision will remain in effect until February 18, 2024.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Finland’s decision to close checkpoints on the border with Russia creates new dividing lines in Europe, and government agencies in Moscow will come up with a response to these actions.
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