The NATO expansion eastwards is one of the most dangerous developments of the last decades in Europe, up to the point where it now borders Russia, with the introduction of Finland in the defense alliance.
This is sure to cause geopolitical tensions of a grave nature – and it has already started.
Finland and two other European countries have restricted or are looking to tighten their borders with Russia, in a move reminiscent of the days of the ‘cold war’.
Finland, Norway and Estonia accuse Moscow of ‘weaponizing’ asylum seekers, mostly from countries including Iraq, Yemen and Somalia, sending them to the frontier without proper documents.
The Kremlin may be seeking to test Helsinki’s resolve after it joined NATO. Helsinki announced a few days ago that it would close four out of its nine border crossings with Russia until February.
The Economist reported:
“The Finnish Border Guard said that barriers had gone up at the Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Imatra and Niirala crossings in southeastern Finland—the busiest points of travel between the countries, with about 3,000 people crossing per day.
Following the move, Norwegian Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said Oslo was prepared to close its border with Russia in the far north if there was a sharp increase in the number of people crossing it, though this has not happened yet.
Meanwhile, Estonia has said it would close all border crossing points with Russia if necessary, following an attempt by eight Somali migrants to enter the NATO and EU member via the border city of Narva.
Tallinn has ordered anti-tank ‘dragon’s teeth’ barriers to its border with Russia in Narva, which is in eastern Estonia. Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets has accused Moscow of pushing asylum seekers ‘without any reason’ to its frontier. Estonia has returned everyone trying to cross without documents or permission.”
Finland shares an 830-mile frontier with Russia. So it’s natural that Moscow was angered by Helsinki’s accession to NATO, after decades of non-alignment.
Finland is constructing a 124-mile fence on a section of the border, due to be completed by 2026.
“Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said Helsinki was making a “big mistake” by confronting Russia over the immigrants and the Russian foreign ministry rejected claims that it was weaponizing immigrants, describing the accusations as ‘very strange’.”