Barely two weeks after Finland’s accession to NATO, the country has started building a kilometer-long fence along its border with Russia. According to the authorities, it will not be a military barrier: the fence must prevent Russia from allowing migrants to cross the border with Finland. Russians who want to flee are also stopped by the fence.
The Finns and the Russians share a border of more than 1,300 kilometers, which for the most part consists of a wooden fence or an imaginary line in difficult-to-access forests. In places where this is possible, the first excavation work has already started. At the end of 2026, a three-meter-high fence must be erected along 200 kilometers of the border, with barbed wire and camera surveillance, the Finnish authorities say.
Migrants crossed the border
Finland is following the example of Poland and the Baltic States. Soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, those countries started building barriers on their borders with Russia or Russia’s ally Belarus.
In the winter of 2021-2022, Poland accused neighboring Belarus of sending hundreds of migrants across the border. Belarus sent planes to the Middle East to collect refugees. They were then forced to cross the border into the EU. According to Brussels, it was a form of hybrid warfare to put further pressure on Europe, although President Lukashenko of Belarus has always denied this.
According to the Finns, thirty people were arrested last year in the border area between Finland and Russia who crossed the border illegally. According to Helsinki, Russian border guards have arrested more than 800 people who were planning to do so. They probably included Russians who wanted to flee their country.
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