Finland border officers have started erecting barriers to stop migrants who have been illegally crossing into Finland through porous points.
According to the officials, Finland will close major border points and leave one entry to be used by migrants seeking asylum in the country.
The measure was adopted after the country recorded nearly 600 migrants without proper visas and documentation, with the Middle East and Africa as one of the countries of origin. Kenya was cited among the countries that recorded the highest number of migrants seeking a better life abroad.
“We need to do this to maintain order (at the crossing points) and guarantee the security of legal border traffic,” Tomi Tirkkonen, deputy commander of the Kainuu border guard district in Eastern Finland, told the Associated Press.
Finland Prime Minister Petteri Orpo speaking to the press
Acting on the orders, border guards and soldiers began building barriers made of concrete and barbed wire to stop migrants from crossing the points without proper documentation.
Prime Minister of Finland Petteri Orpo later confirmed the measures but declined to openly confirm whether they were necessitated by reports claiming that the country differed with Russia on border operations.
Finland had already closed down four crossing points earlier, citing foul play from the Russian government at its eastern border checkpoints last week.
Among the crossing points closed, according to the Prime Minister, were Vartius, Kuusamo, and Salla, while the only point that was left open was Raja-Joosepppi.
Finnish government further alleged that the migrants were forced to enter the country through the Russian border as a punishment for joining The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Russia is opposed to NATO, an intergovernmental military alliance between 31 member states – 29 European and two North American countries, the US and Canada. Russian Government fears that the expansion of may negatively affect European security, especially with its perennial diplomatic tiff with the US.
PM Orpo, however, stated that the measures taken by Finland “unfortunately haven’t been able to stop this phenomenon; on the contrary.”
The construction of the fence at the border, according to the Finnish Border Guards, will take three to four years and will serve for as last as 50 years.
Most migrants affected were young men and women, while others were families with children.
A photo of Kenyans holding passports.