Finland has officially terminated the cross-border cooperation agreement signed with Russia in 2012, citing concerns over border security and migration issues. The decision was made by the Finnish government on Thursday, with the initiator of the termination being Russia, which conveyed the decision in a message to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland in late October.
The agreement, focused on the socio-economic development of border regions, is set to expire on January 24, 2024. This development comes as a response to the growing challenges faced by Finland in managing its border with Russia.
Adding to the complexities, Finland, a member of both NATO and the EU, declared in late November that it would temporarily close its land border with Russia to asylum seekers until December 13. Furthermore, only one out of eight checkpoints will remain open for other types of border crossings. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland did not rule out the possibility of a complete border closure if deemed necessary.
Around 900 asylum seekers arrived in Finland from Russian territory in November 2023. These individuals, including citizens of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Somalia, were reportedly detained by Russian border guards for lacking appropriate documents.
Responding to the heightened security concerns, Finland began erecting barriers on its border with Russia in 2023. The decision to fortify the border was prompted by fears that Russia might facilitate the entry of migrants from third countries into Finland. This situation draws parallels to the migration crisis near the border of Poland and Belarus in 2021, where thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa attempted to enter the territory of Poland from Belarus, ultimately seeking entry into other EU states.