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  • These asylum seekers are waiting in temperatures as low as minus 13 degrees

  • to try and cross from Russia into Finland.

  • This video was filmed near a remote checkpoint located over 185

  • miles north of the Arctic Circle and more than 30 miles from the nearest

  • Finnish town.

  • It's not a typical migration route yet.

  • Similar videos showing hundreds of people making unusual journeys to Finland from

  • Russia have popped up along their 830 mile long border.

  • The Finnish authorities are saying Moscow must be behind this.

  • Here's how Finland says Russia and its allies are using migration as a political

  • weapon,

  • believe there is evidence that migrants are being supported to reach Finland's borders in the

  • past.

  • It was very difficult for migrants to actually travel to the border without proper

  • documentation or visas.

  • And now apparently that is not the case kind of changed.

  • Finnish aid groups told the journal that it is very unlikely that migrants could travel the

  • long distances to the border crossings without help.

  • Videos and photos showed people arriving at checkpoints by foot or using

  • bicycles.

  • There are eight official border crossings between Finland and Russia in the first six

  • months of 2023 less than 100 people crossed the border.

  • But that increased to thousands of asylum seekers by the end of the year.

  • Helsinki has described the influx from Russia as an act of hybrid warfare.

  • Finnish researchers say that is a tactic that is largely used to target political

  • institutions and influence public opinion.

  • Migration right now is a hot button topic all over the west.

  • And it's an issue that gets populations really concerned and anxious.

  • That is actually a plus a positive for the Kremlin because Putin has shown

  • in the past that he very much wants to destabilize these liberal

  • democracies.

  • Helsinki's government believes that it is being targeted by Russia in retaliation for joining NATO

  • when Finland joined the Western military alliance in 2023 nato's frontier with Russia

  • doubled.

  • Russia wants to show Finland that,

  • you know,

  • we can make trouble for you.

  • We are your neighbor.

  • We didn't want you to join NATO,

  • but you have and you're going to have to put up with us.

  • The Kremlin has denied orchestrating waves of migration to its western neighbor but

  • said that Finland's ascension into NATO meant Moscow would have to take any

  • countermeasures to ensure Russia's security.

  • Russian authorities didn't respond to a request for comment

  • isn't the first NATO member to say Moscow weaponizes migration.

  • Russia's close ally.

  • Belarus has also been accused by European leaders of creating an artificial

  • migration crisis on its shared borders with Poland,

  • Lithuania and Latvia.

  • This happened in 2021 where there was a surge of migrants

  • going via Belarus to countries and there

  • was lot of controversy surrounding this because the poles were accused

  • of mistreating migrants and so that also causes tension

  • between allies.

  • The Institute for the study of war said this was enabled or possibly directly

  • controlled by the Kremlin European leaders said Belarus was flying in

  • migrants from countries including Iraq and Syria and pushing them across the border in a

  • bid to destabilize the bloc something Minsk has denied

  • Finland has kept its border crossings with Russia shut since late November.

  • This slowed the flow of migrants through the winter.

  • Yet,

  • Ngos believe more people will attempt to cross in spring,

  • especially if checkpoints reopen Finnish.

  • Authorities say Russia will continue to be a security threat.

  • We do not have a political relationship right now with

  • Russia and I don't see that improving in the near

  • future.

  • Helsinki believes that thousands of migrants are staying close to the border,

  • waiting for a chance to cross into Finland.

These asylum seekers are waiting in temperatures as low as minus 13 degrees


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Why NATO Countries Say Russia Is Weaponizing Migrants | WSJ

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