(MENAFN) Finland's 1,340-kilometer border with Russia now has soldiers stationed at the Vartius crossing.
Following Helsinki's decision to restrict southern crossings in response to charges that Russia is "funneling" migrants and asylum-seekers from third countries to the Finnish border, the military were dispatched to the checkpoint, one of the four that is still in operation.
“At the Vartius border station in Kuhmo, temporary barriers are being built in the border area. The Defense Forces support the Border Guard in construction tasks,” Helsinki's Border Guard stated in a post on social media on Sunday, also saying that the military personnel were not engaged in monitoring the border itself.
Juoki Kinnunen, the director of the border station, verified to Finnish broadcaster Yle that the military is in the process of setting up temporary security barriers at the checkpoint.
This move follows Finland's decision on Saturday to close entry points at Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra, and Niirala in the southeastern part of the country. The closure was prompted by the imperative to stem the influx of asylum-seekers, with authorities noting a notable increase in unauthorized crossings by migrants from Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
"A crystal-clear message to Russia," according to Finnish Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen, who said that Russia is using migrants to "accelerate the migrant crisis in Europe and destabilize its unity." According to Mari Rantanen, the interior minister, Moscow might be "annoyed by Finland's activities."
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