The Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) detained a total of sixteen asylum seekers bound for the Finnish border a week ago Monday, according to online paper the Independent Barents Observer.
The sixteen migrants hailed from countries as diverse as Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, the Congo, Ghana and Tanzania. Two Russian individuals were also detained by the FSB under suspicion of trying to persuade the Russian Border Guard to aid in the illegal border-hopping.
The FSB has not divulged the exact location of the arrests.
FSB spokespersons in Murmansk told the Independent Barents Observer that two Iranian men en route to Norway were also arrested last week. The men face charges of illegal border crossing.
In addition, in late October Russian federal media company GTRK broke news of the FSB arresting two Tanzanian men who were on their way to cross the Finnish border illegally. The men were issued 4,000-rouble fines (some 60 euros) and were promptly deported from Russia.
No new asylum seekers have arrived at the Russian-Finnish border since the two countries signed a temporary, now expired border control agreement early this year at Finland’s behest. The agreement stated that only citizens of Finland, Russia and Belarus were allowed to cross the border at Raja-Jooseppi and Salla.