Russian border guards catching migrants from Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia headed for EU

The Federal Security Service border department has seized another group of migrants from the Middle East trying to illegally cross from the Leningrad region into Finland.

The Federal Security Service border department has seized another group of migrants from the Middle East trying to illegally cross from the Leningrad region into Finland.

"Most attempts to reach EU countries via the Leningrad region are made by people with origins in Africa, Southeast Asian states or the Middle East, and three Syrian natives apprehended on August 6 also came from there," a representative of the Leningrad region border department told Interfax on Aug. 13.

A border detail supported by police dog handlers and hardware seized three men moving towards the state border on August 6, the department said.

"A preliminary inquiry showed that the detainees were citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic aged from 26 to 31. The Syrians came to St. Petersburg as tourists; they did not linger to visit historical sites but rather headed for the Vyborg district of the Leningrad region, closer to the Finnish border," the report said.

A criminal case was opened on counts of an attempted illegal crossing of the border by a group. The Russian Criminal Code punishes this offence with up to six years in prison. The detainees were arrested.

The press service of the FSB border department said that St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region were viewed by illegal migration organizers as a transit zone on the way to the European Union.

"Over 15 trespassers of the state border have been caught in the area overseen by the department since the beginning of this year," the report said, adding that hundreds of people who intended to cross the border were sent away from the border zone on time.

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