Finland begins wall construction on Russian border
Helsinki claims the new border aims to contain Russia's ability to weaponize mass migration against Helsinki.
Afraid of a migration crisis, Finland begins the construction of a fence along its 1,340 km border with Russia.
Given the war in Russia, Finland claimed to fear that Russia could weaponize mass migration from its territories to the EU through Finland. As such, on Tuesday, Helsinki announced that the construction of the fence will begin "with forest clearance and will proceed in such a way that road construction and fence installation can be started in March.”
The declaration came as Finland's parliament advanced its application to join NATO, raising the possibility that it will bypass its neighbor Sweden and join NATO quickly. Finnish MPs plan to vote on accelerating the ascension process on Wednesday afternoon, Tuesday's talks concluded.
To build a sturdy fence, Finland revised its Border Guard Act in July 2022. Currently, the Finnish-Russian border is fenced with thin timber aimed at preventing cattle from crossing the border.
The sturdier fence, extended across three kilometers, will be aimed at preventing Moscow from allegedly exerting political pressure on Helsinki via mass migration. The pilot fence project in Imatra, crossing the south-eastern border, will be finalized by June 2023 the announcement noted.
Furthermore, it was mentioned that between 2023 and 2025, another 70 km fence will be constructed along the southeast of the country. By the end of the project, the Finnish-Russian fence project will cost Helsinki an estimated $400 million and extend, ideally, across 200 km.
In additional detail, the fence will be three meters tall, equipped with barbed wires at the top, and in certain sensitive areas, it will allegedly be equipped with night vision cameras, lights, and loudspeakers.
Finland takes extra step ahead of Sweden in NATO bid ascension
The Parliament of Finland moved a step ahead of Sweden in the bid to obtain a full-membership status in the NATO alliance, AFP reported on Tuesday.
Just ten days ago, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that Finland still wants to join NATO with Sweden, noting that "We have sent a very clear signal and a very clear message to Turkey and also to Hungary... that we want to enter NATO together and this is in the interest of everyone."
Finland faces fewer diplomatic challenges than Sweden.
Helsinki is scheduled to hold elections in April. Therefore, to avoid public opinion influencing membership, Finland will rush to effect that ascension before the start of the elections.
Following a series of debates earlier today, Finnish lawmakers are set to hold a vote on Wednesday to speed up the ascension process.
So far, both Finland and Sweden received the backing of all NATO members - with the exception of Turkey and Hungary.
If the bill comes to pass, this would mean that Finland can act swiftly, even before a new government is formed.
"The time is now to ratify and to fully welcome Finland and Sweden as members," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said during today's visit to Finland.
Read more: Unless Madrid deal implemented, Turkey to block Sweden NATO bid: FM