Facing Russia, Finland builds new border fence

Alessandro Rampasso/AFP (FILES) In this Nov. 18, 2022 file photo, senior border guard officer Juho Pellinen stands next to a fence marking the border between Finland and the Russian Federation near the Belkola border crossing on Nov. 18, 2022 in Imatra, Finland. – Finland has started building its 200-kilometer fence along the Russian border, starting with a three-kilometer pilot fence at the southeastern border crossing in Imatra, the border guard said on February 28, 2023. In total, Finland plans to build 200 kilometers of fencing at a cost of about 380 million euros ($394 million) along its 1,300-kilometer border with Russia. (Photo by Alessandro Rampasso/AFP)

Alessandro Rampasso/AFP

“War in Ukraine: Facing Russia, Finland builds a new border fence (photo taken from the Finnish border in Imatra in November 2022)

War in Ukraine – Finland began building a new 200km-long fence on a section of its border with Russia on Tuesday (28 February), border guards announced.

Work on a three-kilometer pilot project near the city of Imatra in southeastern Finland. Construction began on Tuesday “Deforestation, road building and fencing will continue to be allowed”Border Patrol said in a statement.

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Construction of an additional 70 kilometers is planned between 2023 and 2025, mainly in the Nordic country’s southeast, along the densest part of its 1,340-kilometer border with Russia.

Using immigrants to exert political pressure

In total, Finland plans to fence 200 kilometers for a vast project estimated at 380 million euros. Three-meter-high metal barriers are covered with barbed wire, with night vision cameras, lights and loudspeakers in places considered sensitive. The last phase is scheduled to be completed by 2026.

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NATO candidate Finland amended its law on border guards in July to allow for stronger sanctions, fearing that Moscow would use the migrants to exert political pressure.

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Finland’s borders are currently protected mainly by lightweight wooden barriers, designed mainly to prevent livestock from moving. Estonia, Latvia and Poland have increased or plan to increase security along their borders with Russia.

In September, Russians flocked to Finland after President Vladimir Putin’s announcement to mobilize reservists to fight in Ukraine. Helsinki significantly restricted the entry of Russian citizens into its territory.

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