Murmansk region of Russia on alert over border checkpoint closure by Finland

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A high-alert regime as well as a number of additional measures have been introduced in Russia’s Murmansk region to ensure the safety of local residents, the regional governor Andrey Chibis said on Thursday on Telegram.

The measures were taken after the government of Finland announced on Wednesday to close almost all checkpoints on its border with Russia, except the one in the far north adjacent to Russia’s Murmansk region. The decision will remain in force until Dec. 23.

The number of foreign citizens wishing to enter Finland through Murmansk region may increase several times as a result of the closure, Chibis said.

The governor noted that as many as 400 foreigners were waiting to enter Finland from Murmansk on Wednesday, and only 50 of them were let through. The number was expected to rise further.

After closing four checkpoints on the border with Russia last week, the Finnish authorities decided to temporarily close three more checkpoints on the border with Russia, leaving only the northernmost checkpoint “Raja-Jooseppi” operating, citing the deteriorating migration situation.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that Finland should have raised its concerns in order to work out a mutually acceptable solution.

She also said that Russian authorities were willing to work with Finnish officials to reach an agreement on the issues.

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