International checkpoints of Salla and of Raja-Jooseppi (Lotta) at the border of Russia and Finland in Murmansk region are closed for the refugees from the Middle East and Africa for the next six months, as Sever Post reported in April 10.
From April 10, only citizens of Russia, Belarus and Finland regardless of their nationality can cross the border through these checkpoints. The restrictions apply within 180 days.
The decision on such kind of access mode at the border of Russia and Finland was made during the meeting of countries' presidents on March 23, 2016. During Vladimir Putin and Sauli Niinistö's negotiations, the Finnish president expressed concern about the influx of the refugees from Africa and the Middle East to Suomi.
"The president of Finland asked us to take necessary action for appropriate restrictions. And as you can see, we have done it", Putin claimed then.
On March 2, about a hundred immigrants from Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Congo staged a rally with the slogan "We want to Finland" in Kandalaksha, a city of Murmansk region. Later all of them left Kandalaksha without achieving their goal.
According to Finnish online media YLE report, at the end of last year and within first two months of this one, there has been 1757 asylum-seekers crossed the Lapland checkpoints in order to get to Finland.
A record number of refugees tried to get through Murmansk region also to Norway last year. There were about 5.5 thousand people. In October 2015, "7x7" reported on the situation at Russian-Norwegian border. Even then the Norwegians assessed it as critical. After increasing immigration legislative pressure, the flow of refugees to the country has declined.