Guest officers deployed at Russia-Finland Arctic border

The border in Finnish Lapland. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
The border in Finnish Lapland. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
The first guest officers from other Schengen countries came to Finland’s northern border checkpoints to Russia on Monday.

The flow of migrants across the border to Finland from Russia’s Kola Peninsula continues. This weekend another 66 asylum seekers came to Lapland.

Finnish Border Guard’s head quarters confirms to the Independent Barents Observer that the first Frontex officers now are in place in the north.

“We are facing a totally new phenomenon at our eastern border. By deploying Frontex guest officers at our border crossing points we can give better and timely information on the situation to Frontex and to other EU and Schengen associated countries,” says Lieutenant Colonel Mika Rytkönen, Head of Unit for International Affairs with the Border Guard Head Quarters.

Frontex is the European Union’s agency established to manage the cooperation between national border guards securing Schengen’s external borders. The main aim is to detect and stop illegal immigration and human trafficking.

Guest officers start immediately

Since January 1st, 788 asylum seekers have entered Finland at Raja-Jooseppi and Salla, the country’s two northernmost border checkpoints to Russia. That is more than the 694 asylum seekers that came from Russia to Lapland during 2015.

The majority of asylum seekers are Afghans, Indians, Syrians and from Bangladesh.

Activating of Frontex Focal Points in Lapland means that officers from other countries will be based at the border checkpoints after pre-agreed planning following changes in the situation at different borders.

“The first guest officers will arrive today, and rest during March and April. Each guest officer will stay one month,” says Mika Rytkönen.

He says there will be around ten guest officers, coming from the Nordic and Central European countries.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Should Canada have a plan for climate refugees?, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Asylum-seekers sign up for snow clearing in Finland, Yle News

Norway:  Refugees find Arctic gate to Schengen, Barents Observer

Russia: Looking back at the 2010 Norway – Russia deal on Arctic borders, Barents Observer


Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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