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Record numbers cross Norway's Russian border

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Record numbers cross Norway's Russian border
Many of the refugees come on bikes which they then discard at the border. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix
09:49 CET+01:00
A record 196 asylum seekers crossed Norway’s northern border with Russia on Tuesday, Norwegian police have reported.
Taken together with the 174 asylum seekers who crossed the border on Monday (also a record), this week looks set to beat last week’s historically high refugee inflow of 793 — more than half of whom are Afghan. 
 
Norway’s Storskog border crossing is the only place along Norway’s 196km border with Russia where crossing from one country to the other is permitted. 
 
The normally quiet border crossing has seen more than 3,000 refugees arrive so far this year, the majority of them riding bicycles to circumvent a requirement from the Russian side that the border cannot be crossed on foot. 
 
Norway has started building new refugee accommodation at the airport in the nearby town of Kirkenes, where the refugees can stay before being flown south. 
 
Norway immigration authorities on Monday sent out a message over Twitter warning any Afghans crossing the border that they risked being repatriated, not simply back across the border to Russ — where many have been living — but to Kabul.   
 
The tweet marks the first sign of a new negative social media campaign by Norwegian authorities aimed at reducing the numbers of refugees seeking asylum in the country.  
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