The Finnish authorities have taken up the possibility of building a fence along the vast majority of sections of the border with Russia, having decided that closing the border for Russian tourists is not enough. However, the construction of the protective barrier has not yet been approved by Parliament.
Thus, according to the Schengenvisainfo portal, Finnish Interior Minister Krista Mikkonen said that the authorities should consider building a fence, since “the fence will help prevent unauthorized border crossings from Russia.” Despite such a statement, Mikkonnen noted that the fence would most likely not be erected along the entire border, but only in areas where the risks are higher than the crossing. Recall that the common land border between Finland and Russia is 1.289 km. However, the Finnish border guard has proposed only partially fencing off the section – its approximate length is about 260 km.
At the same time, we are not talking about temporary barrage installations, but about a permanent and solid barrier with barbed wire and surveillance cameras. Mikkonen also said that the construction of the fence will not be quick and will take 3-4 years. According to the Minister of the Interior, “this would be an important decision requiring an assessment of foreign and security policy.” We add that a similar situation was observed at the end of last year with the arrival of a mass flow of people seeking asylum at the Belarusian-Polish border.
At the same time, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that the construction of a blank fence would help “protect the territory.” However, Haavisto noted that the country is still discussing whether such investments on the eastern border will be beneficial for the country before making a final decision on the start of construction.
Shortly after the foreign minister and the minister Finnish Interior Ministry made such bold statements, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin also issued an official statement on the matter. According to Finland's national public broadcaster Yle, the prime minister said she thinks she has reason to shut herself off from Russia.
The official noted that this issue may require unanimous support among members of the country's parliament, and at the same time stressed that she hopes that a decision will be made as soon as possible. In addition, she drew attention to the fact that Europe is in a state of war and the situation cannot become more tense than this, assuming that the country should follow the plan.
Recall that Finland has already closed its border to Russian tourists. Entry restrictions for all Russian citizens went into effect on September 30, and the authorities said they would remain in place until further notice.
As soon as the country announced the entry restrictions for Russians, Finnish Foreign Minister Haavisto stressed that Finland is committed to completely prevent Russian tourism to the country and close the country as a transit zone to reach other European destinations.
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