In early May this year a group of eight Afghans showed up at the Norwegian border station of Storskog. According to newspaper Aftenposten, Russian authorities and border guards actively assisted the refugees getting across the border.
Norwegian authorities suspect that Russian authorities have dumped the unwanted people in Norway, newspaper Aftenposten reports
It was a Russian citizen living in the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes who drove the Afghans to the border station. Both the driver and the car were hired by Russian border guard authorities, the newspaper writes.
The Afghans were literally dumped on the square in front of the Norwegian border station. The driver handed the Norwegian border guards officials a document field with all the Afghans’ passports as well as Russian documents. The people said they have paid 13000 USD to be helped from Afghanistan, through Russia and to Norway.
Norwegian authorities strongly react on what appears to be Russian authorities’ participation in the case. The papers brought by the Afghans were reportedly signed by the leader of the Russian Borisgleb border station and approved by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
-It is unacceptable that people who are to be expelled from Russia, and who have no connection or visa to Norway are sent to Norway, the Norwegian Ministry of Justice writes in a letter to the Foreign Ministry. Aftenposten has a copy of the letter.
–It might seem like the Russians have chosen to solve a problem by sending the Afghans to Norway, the ministry officials say.
Only few cases of illegal border crossing take place across the 196 km long Norwegian-Russian border and human trafficking to Norway take other routes than in the far north. Cooperation between Norwegian and Russian border guard authorities is know to function very well with close contacts and extensive joint initiatives.
However, police now still fear a growth in illegal border crossing across the Storskog-Borisgleb border stations.
General Secretary of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat Rune Rafaelsen says to BarentsObserver that Norway and Russian need to strengthen cooperation on third country citizens and that a new agreement on the issue needs to be elaborated. He also admits that it is worrisome that the border guard authorities appear to have been actively involved in the case.
On the Norwegian side, the Afghans were quickly sent to Oslo, where they are now living in a center for refugees. Their chances for asylum are considered good.