Russia is trying to recruit asylum seekers coming to Finland as spies, the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service said on Tuesday amid a recent increase in asylum seekers crossing the border Finland shares with Russia.
In recent months, more than a thousand asylum seekers have arrived in Finland via the eastern border, which the country shares with Russia for more than 1,340 kilometres.
Last week alone, several dozen people crossed the eastern border into Finland irregularly, and the Finnish Border Guard estimated on Monday that there could be thousands of people on Finland’s eastern border ready to do the same.
However, according to some information disclosed by the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service, Russia is trying to recruit some of the asylum seekers as informers to report back to Moscow.
“There are various ways of trying to get a person to cooperate, such as putting pressure on them, tying the request for cooperation to the conditions for leaving the country or promising, for example, financial benefits”, the intelligence agency told the Finnish press.
However, the agency noted that the phenomenon is not large-scale.
Since the start of August, more than 1,300 non-EU nationals have entered Finland via its border with Russia, mainly from Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq.
According to the Finnish National Criminal Police (KRP), the large number of arrivals has delayed the identification of persons who may threaten internal security, as such persons are believed to have irregularly entered Finland via the eastern border.