• Finland has accused Russia of sending undocumented migrants across the border. 
  • It says 300 migrants have arrived at the border with the help of Russian officials. 
  • Experts say Russia is retaliating to Finland's decision to join NATO. 

A vengeful Russia is attempting to stoke a migrant crisis in Finland by sending hundreds of asylum across the border on bicycles and scooters, authorities in Helsinki say.

On Friday, Finnish authorities said they were closing four of the eight crossings on its border with Russia after a surge in the number of migrants attempting to enter the country.

Finland's border guards said around 300 migrants, mostly young men from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and other parts of the Middle East, had accessed the country since September, a steep increase on the usual figures, Reuters reported.

The country's prime minister, Petteri Orpo, accused Russia of engineering the crisis.

"It is clear that these people are helped and they are also being escorted or transported to the border by border guards," Orpo said on November 14.

Finnish officials also said that Russia has been giving out bicycles and scooters to migrants because people are banned from walking between the Russian and Finnish border checkpoints, according to The Telegraph.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö last week said the move may be part of a response by Russia to Finland finalizing a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the United States.

Russia has denied the accusations and criticized Finland's decision to close the border crossings.

"(One can) only express deep regret that the Finnish authorities have taken the path of destroying bilateral relations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS.

It's not the first time Russia has been accused of channeling migrants into Europe as part of its so-called "hybrid warfare" tactics, which involve using a range of measures including disinformation and hacking to destabilize countries it sees as hostile.

In 2021, thousands of Middle Eastern migrants crossed the border from Belarus, a Russian ally, into Poland, provoking a sharp increase in tensions between the eastern European neighbors.

"The Kremlin enabled, or possibly directly controlled, Belarus' artificial creation of a migrant crisis on its border with Poland in 2021," said US think tank The Institute for the Study of War.

"The Kremlin exploited the manufactured crisis in 2021 to falsely accuse NATO of aggression against Belarus."

At the time, Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, denied encouraging the flow of migrants.

Finland has an 830-mile-long border with Russia, forming the easternmost boundary of the European Union.

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