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Tuesday, 07 December, 2021
Home NATIONALFinland suspects crime in asylum-seeker transit from Russia
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Fri, 08 Jan, 2016 02:35:18 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, Jan 8

Finnish authorities suspect that illegal services are provided for asylum seekers trying to enter Finland from Russia, but dismissed Swedish media reports that "thousands (are) waiting at the mercy of extreme cold" on the Russian side.

Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported on Wednesday that there are 20 asylum seekers and Russian passport holders who are suspected of trying to set foot on Finnish soil without a required visa.

Those found guilty will get a fine and a five-year ban from entry into Finland, which regards transporting someone not holding a visa across the Finno-Russian border as a crime.

In late December last year, Finland banned the use of bicycles to cross its border. As a result, the asylum seekers could only seek automobile transportation.

Pirkko Makikokkila, Finnish consul in the northwestern Russian city of Murmansk, told Yle that there are around 200 would-be asylum seekers in the Murmansk area waiting to travel onwards.

Yle rejected reports that thousands are waiting in inclement weather as baseless.

Yle reported that asylum seekers choosing the "Northern route" usually take a commercial flight or a train to Murmansk from Moscow or other Russian cities.

Last year, some 700 asylum seekers crossed over to Finland over the northern part of the Finnish border while only 30 used the southern end of the border close to Russia's second largest city St. Petersburg. The numbers are small compared with the over 30,000 people getting into Finland via Sweden or directly across the Baltic Sea.

Hannu Markkula, spokesman of the Lapland sector of the Finnish Border Guards, told Yle that half of those arriving from Russia transited through Russia, and the other half are foreign nationals who had stayed in Russia for a long time.

Most of the arrivals have nothing to do with the wars in Syria and Iraq. Half of those who reached Finland via northern Russia last year were Afghans.



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