Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s initial comments to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) on Friday were cautious.
“Russia’s own safety concerns are definitely behind it; they have the same worries that we have raised. Islamic State fighters are mixed into the migrant crowd, and this is surely a concern that both Russia and Europe share,” said Sipilä.
President Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that foreign enemies were seeking to disrupt Russia’s upcoming parliamentary elections and ordered the country’s security service to be extra vigilant.
The Russian leader said foreign intelligence agencies had become much more active in 2015, and that “the activities of more than 400 foreign spies had been thwarted”. 23 were charged with criminal offences.
More than 24 million cyber attacks on Russia’s state websites and information systems were also recorded last year, Putin said.
Referring to what he said was a direct threat to Russia’s sovereignty, Putin said the FSB had supplied him with specific intelligence that “foreign foes” were also preparing for Russia’s elections.
Finland’s premier was asked how these latest comments from Putin would affect the refugee situation on Finland’s eastern border.
“There’s no way of knowing, of course, but this is exactly the direction that we have emphasized in our discussions. They too should assume the responsibility for addressing the illegal flow of migrants into Finland,” said Sipilä.