Russia is being forced to take in immigrants that it has been accused of dumping at the EU border after the sudden arrival of winter left them stranded in the freezing cold and Finland closed its borders.
Around 200 refugees from the Middle East who tried to cross into Finland turned back after Finnish authorities closed the border crossing with Russia the refugees were attempting to use.
Video footage shows dozens of asylum seekers, many of them lightly dressed, lining up in the snow beside a bus reportedly taking them to St Petersburg.
Andrey Chibis, the Governor of the Murmansk region, said the authorities had organised the transportation on 24th November.
Chibis said: “They have all the necessary documents and permits to stay in our country.”
According to the governor, 58 people managed to cross into Finland the day before, on 23th November, before the Salla checkpoint was completely closed.
Finland has accused Russia of deliberately funnelling migrants to the EU to destabilise the bloc.
On Wednesday, 29th November, Finland closed down the last remaining border crossing with Russia, located in the Arctic Circle.
The border closure is said to be temporary.
Around 900 asylum seekers reportedly entered Finland from Russia in November.
The Finnish government has accused Russia of channelling refugees into the country in what it referred to as a “hybrid operation”.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said they had received so many migrants without proper documentation it has become nearly “impossible” to maintain order.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it “regretted” the “rushed” decision to close the border and said it was made “without any consultations with the Russian side.”
The ministry claimed the measure violates the rights and interests of tens of thousands of people on both sides.
Niinisto asked for a solution to be implemented across the European Union, adding: “It is impossible that each country just by itself tries to take care of the situation which might break out in a neighbouring country immediately afterwards.”