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Medvedev: Russia won't send "excessive numbers" of asylum seekers to Finland

Ahead of a Friday evening meeting with Finnish President Niinistö, the Russian PM is quoted as saying that Moscow cannot stop asylum seekers from crossing into Finland.

Presidentti Sauli Niinistö ja Venäjän pääministeri Dmitri Medvedev.
President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva ja Yekaterina Shtukina / AFP

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö meets with Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev on Friday evening on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. The two are likely to discuss the migrant situation along the countries' mutual border, where the number of arriving asylum seekers has been surging in recent weeks.

Medvedev was earlier in the day quoted as saying that Russia does not intend to prevent asylum seekers' movement toward the Finnish border.

The quote was posted on the Russian government website as part of its version of the premier's interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt – although the business daily's published interview does not include any mention of Finland. In the official transcript, Medvedev says that Russia cannot stop asylum seekers from crossing into Finland.

"No legal grounds" to stop migrants

He is also quoted as saying that Niinistö and Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä are very concerned about the situation, but that Russia does not have any legal grounds to stop those heading west into Finland. Medvedev met with Sipilä in St Petersburg in late January.

Medvedev notes that Russia is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights. He insisted that Russia has no bad intentions and does not plan to send excessive numbers of asylum seekers into Finland.

Finland's 1340-kilometre border with Russia is the EU's longest.

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