A sign informing passers-by they are entering the border zone between Finland and Russia in Salla, Lapland, on 23 January, 2016.The flow of asylum seekers across the eastern border of Finnish Lapland has been at a standstill for three consecutive days, Jussi Sainio, a Deputy Commander at the Lapland Border Guard, revealed in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday.

The number of daily arrivals has previously varied from 15 to 20 at the border-crossing point in Salla and from 0 to 10 at the border-crossing point in Raja-Jooseppi, he adds.

The Finnish Border Guard confirmed in a press release earlier yesterday that not a single asylum seeker entered the country through the border-crossing points in Salla or Raja-Jooseppi between 1 and 2 March.

“The situation has for the past couple of days been in line with what we set out to achieve. The crime prevention efforts of Finnish and Russian authorities are beginning to have an effect,” Ilkka Laitinen, a Deputy Chief at the Finnish Border Guard, analysed in another press release.

The press release also indicates that a total of 1,063 people, representing 31 different nationalities, have filed for asylum at the border-crossing points in Finnish Lapland since the beginning of the year.

Ilta-Sanomat drew on Thursday attention to rumours circulating in Russia that the land border into Finland has been closed entirely. Russian news outlets, for example, reported on Wednesday that a few dozen refugees stuck in Kandalaksha, Murmansk, staged a demonstration to demand admittance to Finland.

The rumours have been denied by the Lapland Border Guard.

Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, expressed on 2 March his delight with the news that the flow of asylum seekers has come to a halt but affirmed that Finland and Russia will continue to search for a sustainable solution to the situation at the border.

He later clarified that although the flow of asylum across the border has come to a halt, it does not signify that the all of the problems have been solved.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva

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