Finland Worried Migration Crisis Will Spill Into its Borders
(Bloomberg) -- Images of migrants flooding the Belarusian border zones to try and get into Poland and Lithuania have spooked Finland, a European Union country and one whose 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border with Russia makes it vulnerable to the maelstrom.
Finland is scarred by memories of 2015, when more than 30,000 Asian and Middle Eastern people suddenly appeared on the Russian border seeking asylum. Officials then concluded that the crossings were probably part of a hybrid attack masterminded in Moscow.
Such is the sense of unease that the opposition has taken steps on Tuesday to force a debate in parliament to prevent the government from accepting asylum applications in case of mass entry and to safeguard national security.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, is facing the threat of new EU sanctions as Western leaders accuse him of bringing asylum-seekers to the border to put pressure on the bloc. Germany’s Angela Merkel and others have taken turns speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging him use his influence over Belarus to de-escalate matters.
Finland itself, due to is geographic proximity and historic ties to Russia, has its own direct channel of communication with Putin.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.