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Flow of migrants through Russia's Arctic doubles over ten days

February 09, 13:09 UTC+3 MURMANSK
There are currently 200 refugees and the influx keeps growing
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© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS
© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS
© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS
© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

MURMANSK, February 9. /TASS/. The number of migrants transiting Russia’s Murmansk Region, in the Arctic, has doubled over the past ten days, the head of the Kandalaksha District’s administration, Andrey Ivanov, has told TASS, adding that about two hundred migrants were permanently present in Kandalaksha.

"Ten days ago there were one hundred refugees. Today there are 200 of them and the influx keeps growing," Ivanov said.

Finnish border guards let in about ten migrants, fifteen at the most a day. Border crossing procedures take one or two weeks to accomplish.

The refugees now take up two hotels in Kandlaksha. One of them is in the city center, next door to the office of the city authorities. Both hotels are overcrowded. New arrivals have to turn to private households for accommodation.

The local authorities say the residents are unhappy about this and negative remarks addressed to migrants are frequent in the social networks. There have been no firm resistance or protests against migrants, though.

"But if the number of migrants keeps growing, the district may experience serious problems," Ivanov said.

"Syrians among the migrants are rare, accounting for several percent of the overall number. The list of countries they come from is long and includes states in the Middle East and Africa," Ivanov said.

Kandalaksha is a transit point for migrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Palestine, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Congo, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia and other countries. The change in the ethnic composition occurred last November. Before, that most of the migrants were from Syria.

Most of the migrants have tourist visas and their documents are in order. Those who are in breach of some rules are scarce.

Earlier, the refugees from the Middle East and Africa were transiting the Murmansk Region of Russia to Norway. After Norway tightened entry rules the flow of refugees turned towards Finland.

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