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HELSINKI, February 26. /TASS/. Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila welcomed on Friday Russia’s plans to tighten control over the flow of refugees amid a growing flow of migrants crossing into Finland from Russia.
The Finnish prime minister was commenting on a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who earlier on Friday demanded from the Federal Security Service to tighten controls over the flow of refugees to Russia and across it to Europe.
"It is necessary to toughen control over refugee flows heading both to Russia and to European countries via Russia," Putin said on Friday at a FSB board meeting.
"Of course, there is no data as of yet on how this will influence [the flow of refugees to Finland from Russia], but this is exactly what was in the focus in our discussion [with Russia]," Yle television quoted Sipila as saying.
The Finnish prime minister believes Russia’s move comes because of security concerns. "We also spoke about the same fears. Gunmen from Islamic State, who obviously cause general concern both in Europe and in Russia, arrive among a wave of refugees," the prime minister said.
The number of refugees crossing into Finland from Russia via the check points in the north, in Lapland, since the start of the year has already now sizably exceeded last year figures, amounting to 1,000 people, against some 700 people crossing into Finland from Russia last year.
Several dozen asylum seekers arrive in Finland from Russia daily. Most often migrants have no necessary documents for entry, in particular Schengen visas, Finnish border guards say.
All in all about 32,500 migrants, mainly of Iraqi descent, arrived in Finland last year. Others arrived across the Swedish-Finnish border in the north, but many opted for other routes, arriving on ferries from Germany and across the Russian border with Finnish Lapland.
The Russian-Finnish border has become at the moment the main direction that migrants use to reach Finland.