According to YLE, social media is being used to find Russian-speakers willing to run the gauntlet by picking up illegal border crossers and whisking them to Germany. The scheme has strong parallels with the methods employed by people smugglers operating on the Latvia-Belarus border, as previously reported by Latvian Television.
"Since September, YLE has been following a Russian-language website on Facebook that offers various jobs in Europe and Finland. The site has also actively offered work for car drivers. The work has primarily been human smuggling from Latvia primarily to Germany and Poland and through them to other EU countries," said YLE.
Pressure on the Latvian border has been intense in recent months as a result of the state-supported people smuggling operation of the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. Lithuania and Poland have both suffered similar hybrid pressure. But now Finland is feeling something similar on its border with Russia – apparently as a result of Moscow's displeasure with Finnish NATO membership.
Why are asylum seekers pushing bicycles to the border? https://t.co/xdHlT2wpQe— Yle News (@ylenews) November 22, 2023
As YLE reports elsewhere, suspcious lines of supposed asylum seekers – often with bicycles – have been showing up at Finnish border posts. Our colleagues at the YLE English-language service have this analysis of Russia's hybrid efforts on the Finnish border which again have very strong parallels with the situation on the eastern borders of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
As a result, Finland will close all but one of its checkpoints on its eastern border with Russia from midnight on Friday. The closure of the checkpoints will remain in force until December 23. Just one crossing point, at Raja-Jooseppi in the far north of Finnish Lapland, will remain open.