Government of the Murmansk region have banned all foreigners to participate in the traditional international run "Ski Track of Friendship", which will take place in the border zone on March 12.
Citizens of foreign countries, except countries of the Barents region, have got under a ban on taking part in the ski race.
"In accordance with the prescription of the Border control, citizens of other countries (except countries of the Barents region) are banned entry to the frontier zone (to the competition), including the CIS countries – Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and others, regardless of the presence or absence of a residence permit in Russia", said in the announcement of the sports committee of the Murmansk region.
Cross-country skiing on the territory of three countries – Russia, Norway and Finland – are held annually since 1994; both professional skiers and amateurs from all over the world could participate. Length of the route is 12,5 km. According to estimates of the organizers, about 4 thousand people go the distance "Ski Track of Friendship" each year.
According to journalists of "Severpost", a ban is associated with the influx of refugees in the region and the fear that some of them want to illegally cross the border under the guise of ski-athletes.
On holidays employees of the Federal Migration Service detained 65 foreigners who tried to go through the Murmansk region in the European Union illegally. Interfax reported about it on March 9, citing the head of the service Konstantin Romodanovsky.
The flow of Middle Eastern refugees has been growing in the south of the Murmansk region, on the border with Finland since the end of last year.
According to the Finnish YLE, about 940 asylum seekers came from Russia to Finland through the Lapland checkpoints since the beginning of the year. This is about a third more than in the whole of last year.
Also, a record number of refugees tried to get to Norway through the Murmansk region in the past year: about 5.5 thousand people. In October 2015, «7x7» wrote about the situation on the Russian-Norwegian border. Even then, the Norwegians assessed it as critical. The flow of refugees to the country declined after the tightening of immigration legislation.