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Murmansk Region to open accommodation centers for refugees amassed along Finnish border

MURMANSK, November 23. /TASS/. Three temporary accommodation centers for foreign refugees who amassed along the Russian-Finnish border following the closure of Finnish border crossings will be opened in the city of Murmansk, as well as in the Kola and Kandalaksha districts of the Murmansk Region, a draft decree of the region’s governor said.

The accommodation centers will be arranged "in connection with the mass arrival in the Murmansk Region of foreign citizens and stateless persons willing to cross the state border of the Russian Federation , under persisting freezing temperatures, which may pose a threat to people's lives and health," the document said.

Governor Andrey Chibis ordered the local governments in the Kandalaksha and Kola districts, as well as in Murmansk to open the accommodation centers and ensure their functioning. The addresses of the future centers were not specified.

"Of course, we cannot leave the refugees freezing in the snow without keeping them warm and without providing meals. All measures have been taken for their safety and health," the governor said in a video message uploaded to his Telegram channel.

A line of about 300 people has amassed at the Russian-Finnish border near the Salla border crossing in the Murmansk Region. Chibis blasted the Finnish authorities' decision to close checkpoints on the border with Russia as "unfriendly and provocative," calling the situation a "humanitarian crisis." The governor also announced the introduction of a high alert mode and additional security measures in the polar region, in particular, the opening of additional checkpoints to detect illegal migrants.

On November 22, the Finnish government decided to shut down three of the four remaining border crossings into Russia, making an exception for the Raja-Jooseppi checkpoint. The three will be closed at 12:00 a.m. local time on November 24. The decision will remain in effect until December 23, 2023.

Finland closed four crossing points on the border with Russia (Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala) on the night of November 17 to 18. According to the Finnish prime minister, the goal was to respond to the inflow of "citizens from third countries" to Finland’s eastern border, which had increased recently. The country’s Interior Minister Mari Rantanen explained that the decision would remain in effect until February 18, 2024.

Another border crossing, called Syuvyaoro in Russia and Parikkala in Finland, was closed indefinitely in April 2022.

ТАСС 23.11.2023, 21:25 MSK


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