FINLAND: Finland has begun erecting a fence along parts of its 1,340-kilometer shared border with Russia to ensure security and prevent Russia from weaponizing mass migration during the Ukrainian invasion. This three-kilometer pilot project at Imatra’s south-eastern border crossing would be finished by the end of June.
Between 2023 and 2025, another 70 kilometers of fence will be built, primarily in southern Finland. The total cost would amount to around 400 million euros.
In July, Finland made changes to its Border Guard Act to start building stronger fences. This comes after fears that Moscow would use mass migration to exert political pressure on Helsinki. As of now, the country’s borders are secured by light wooden fences to stop livestock from going to the wrong side.
On Tuesday, Finland announced the commencement of construction. Following Tuesday’s debates, Finnish MPs are expected to vote on Wednesday afternoon. The Finnish Border Guard stated that terrain work would start “with forest clearance and will proceed in such a way that road construction and fence installation can be started in March.”
This news came as the country’s parliament kept working on its plan to join NATO and Sweden was still trying to figure out how to join the transatlantic defence pact. Finland and Sweden do not yet have the support of two of NATO’s 30 members, Hungary and Turkey.
During a visit to the country, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said, “The time is now to ratify and to fully welcome Finland and Sweden as members.”
Sweden’s Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, stated that Finland joining the pact alone could “complicate” the alliance between the Nordic countries as Sweden would be the only country not being protected by NATO.
Sauli Niinisto, the European country’s President, stated that he would be signing the law as soon as it was approved by the Parliament but that it could be delayed until the April elections for “practical reasons.”
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