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HELSINKI: Finland is ready to close its last border crossing with Russia if Moscow keeps pushing migrants across, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said Monday as migrants continued to make the treacherous journey through the Arctic.

“We have closed all our border stations on the eastern border except for one and we are ready to close the last one if needed,” Orpo told reporters in Helsinki.

“Finland is protecting the European Union’s external border and NATO’s border. We will not let this phenomenon continue,” he added.

Finland has seen a surge in asylum seekers entering without a visa across its 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia, with around 800 crossing since August.

The migrants are predominantly from the Middle East and Africa. This has prompted Finland to close all but its northernmost border crossing, in the remote Murmansk region in the Arctic, over the past two weeks. Finnish officials claim Russia is attempting to destabilise its Nordic neighbour, with Orpo last week calling it “a systematic and organised action by the Russian authorities”.

In April, Moscow warned it would take “countermeasures... in tactical and strategic terms” after branding Finland’s decision to join NATO as an “assault on our security”.

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