Moscow’s hybrid warfare techniques on the Finnish-Russian border are probably a part of a broader aim to destabilize NATO international locations close to Russia’s borders, the Institute for the Examine of Conflict (ISW) stated in its Nov. 20 report.
The present tensions between Russia and Finland are largely a results of Russia engineering a man-made migrant disaster at Finland’s border, the ISW stated.
Finland started closing border crossings on Nov. 17 and introduced plans to construct fences alongside its border with Russia on Nov. 19. The transfer got here after Finnish authorities reported an inflow of asylum seekers at its japanese border on Nov. 12.
The Finnish authorities has accused Russia of orchestrating the migrant disaster.
The asylum seekers arriving at Finland’s border are refugees and migrants passing by Russia from third international locations, reminiscent of Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Somalia.
The ISW stated the state of affairs resembles the 2021 migrant disaster on the Polish border, which it says was created by Russia and Belarus.
In November 2021, hundreds of migrants from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and different international locations arrived on the Polish-Belarusian border, triggering a humanitarian disaster. Many endured freezing temperatures at makeshift camps in Belarusia’s forests and suffered violence from Polish border guards.
EU officers stated that Russia and Belarus deliberate the disaster, utilizing the migrants as pawns in a political transfer in opposition to the EU and NATO international locations.
“The Kremlin exploited the manufactured disaster in 2021 to falsely accuse NATO of aggression in opposition to Belarus,” the ISW stated.
In line with the ISW, the present Russian-Finnish border battle probably represents Moscow’s efforts to destabilize NATO international locations within the area and “distract from the battle in Ukraine.”
Finland acceded to NATO on April 4, 2023. The Russian International Affairs Ministry issued a response that very same day, saying that Russia could be “pressured to take retaliatory measures” in opposition to Finland.
“ISW has additionally constantly assessed that one in every of Putin’s targets in launching the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 was to interrupt up NATO – a aim he continues to pursue,” the report stated.