Listen to this article Finland Commences Building Fence Spanning 124 Miles Along Russian Border
Finland Begins Building Fence Along Russian Border Amid Fears of Political Pressure
Finland has initiated construction on a 200-kilometre fence along its border with Russia, citing concerns that Moscow may use migrant flows for political purposes. The Finnish Border Guard announced that terrain work began on Tuesday, involving forest clearance to enable road construction and fence installation to commence in March.
Furthermore, the fence aims to prevent illegal entry from Russian territory and enhance border security. Finland currently secures its borders using light wooden fences, which primarily serve the purpose of containing livestock. However, with the war in Ukraine changing the security situation in the region, Brigadier General Jari Tolppanen stated that the border fence was “indispensable” to stop large-scale illegal entries.
In addition, the fence will cost about 380 million euros ($597 million) to build and will span 200 kilometres of Finland’s 1,300-kilometre border with Russia. The first phase of the project, a three-kilometre pilot at the southeastern border crossing in Imatra, is set to be completed by June. The subsequent 70-kilometre construction will take place between 2023 and 2025, mainly in southeastern Finland.
Additionally, the fence is a response to the perceived threat of Russian influence over migrant flows. As a result, Finland passed new amendments to its Border Guard Act in July to facilitate the erection of sturdier fences, fearing that Moscow could use migrants to exert political pressure on Helsinki. The move comes as the war in Ukraine has fundamentally altered the security situation in the region.
Details of the Fence Construction Plan
By June, the southeastern border crossing in Imatra will complete the first phase of the project, which spans three kilometers and serves as a pilot for the rest of the fence construction plan. Construction of a further 70 kilometres, mainly in southeastern Finland, will take place between 2023 and 2025. In total, Finland plans to fence 200 kilometres of its 1,300-kilometre border with Russia at a cost of about €380 million ($597 million).
The fence will be over three metres tall, topped with barbed wire, and equipped with night-vision cameras, lights, and loudspeakers in sensitive areas. Finland presently secures its borders using light wooden fences that serve the purpose of containing livestock.
Reasons for the Fence
Although the Finland-Russia border has previously functioned well, Brigadier General Jari Tolppanen said that the war in Ukraine had fundamentally altered the security situation, and that the fence was necessary to prevent large-scale illegal entries. Tolppanen called the border fence “indispensable” to stop illegal entries from Russian territory.
In September, Finland saw an influx of Russians after President Vladimir Putin mobilized reservists to fight in Ukraine. Estonia, Latvia, and Poland have also increased border security with Russia or have plans to do so.
In conclusion, Finland has commenced the construction of a 200-kilometre fence along its border with Russia in response to fears of political pressure from Moscow. The fence, which will be over three metres tall and topped with barbed wire, is expected to cost €380 million ($597 million). The project is set to be completed in stages, with the first phase of a three-kilometre pilot project to be completed by June. Brigadier General Jari Tolppanen believes that the border fence is “indispensable” to stop large-scale illegal entries from Russian territory.