Another Russian neighbor threatens border closure

Lazy eyes listen


Norway’s single border crossing with Russia may be closed, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store has warned, according to the country’s TV2 broadcaster. The warning comes amid deteriorating relations between Scandinavian countries and Russia. Finland plans to block all but one of its borders with its eastern neighbour.

Store told the press on Wednesday that Norway’s Storskog crossing, the only one on the country’s 200-kilometer border with Russia, will be closed “if necessary.”

Finland has previously stated that it will close all border crossings with Russia save the northernmost Raja-Jooseppi gate. Following the shutdown of four others last week, the crossings in Kuusamo, Salla, and Vartius will close at midnight on Friday, November 24.

Helsinki highlighted a purported increase in the number of migrants attempting to enter Finland from Russia, especially from the Middle East and Africa.

Antti Hakkanen, Finland’s defence minister, accused Russia of aiming to “accelerate the migrant crisis in Europe and destabilise its unity,” a remark that Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied as “completely baseless.”

Last week, Emilie Enger Mehl, Norway’s justice minister, told the national news agency NTB that “it may be appropriate for us to close the border at short notice if necessary.” She said that traffic at the Storskog checkpoint has been light throughout autumn.

According to Yle, hundreds of Finnish citizens, many of whom have family in Russia, have protested the border closures. According to one demonstrator, “we have the right to family ties.” Making such a decision so close to Christmas is quite cruel.”

In April, Finland became NATO’s newest member, joining the US-led military alliance. President Sauli Niinisto has planned for a vote to select its membership. The government, on the other hand, went ahead with the decision anyway, citing opinion polls.

Zakharova said on Telegram that “when the time came for action, they didn’t ask the public, and did exactly what Washington told them… or did I miss something, and the referendum on Finland joining NATO happened after all?”