Russia ‘instrumentalizes’ vulnerable migrants from Middle East, says Finnish diplomat

More than 600 migrants illegally entered Finland via Russia in November.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Russia and organized crime groups are using illegal migrants from the Middle East and other regions by pushing them into Finland, a Nordic country’s diplomat told Kurdistan 24.

The remarks by Finnish Ambassador Kinnunen Mikko have come to Kurdistan 24 recently following the Scandinavian country’s decision to close down all the border crossings with Russia but one after a wave of illegal migrants had illegally entered Finland.

“We know that there is organized crime mafia in Russia, which is also instrumentalizing individuals … from the Middle East, Iraq, Africa, and Asia,” Ambassador Mikko told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.

The migrants, undertaking a perilous journey in minus-20 degrees Celsius, are “being abused,” the diplomat said, adding his country will take additional measures should the current situation continue.

More than 600 migrants illegally entered Finland via Russia in November, marking a sharp increase in the figures compared to previous months, Kurdistan 24 has learned.

Asked whether Finland is concerned about the repetition of the Poland-Belarus scenario with regard to migration, the diplomat said Helsinki has “many experiences of this”.

Finnish border guards have erected concrete barriers topped with barbed wire in a bid to thwart further illegal entries.

Russia, which has long-standing rocky relations with Finland, has rejected Helsinki’s claims regarding funneling migrants.

Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen on Wednesday similarly accused Russia of using the migrants as part of its “hybrid warfare” against Finland, which joined NATO in April after decades of military non-alignment.