As Russians Flee, Finland Builds a Border Fence

More fallout from the invasion of Ukraine
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2023 2:00 AM CST
Finland Is Building a Border Fence
Russian cars and buses line up at the Vaalimaa border check point between Finland and Russia in Virolahti, Finland, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.   (Sasu Makinen./Lehtikuva via AP)

Finland shares an 832-mile border with Russia, the longest of any nation in the European Union. Soon, as many as 161 of those miles will feature a 10-foot-tall fence topped with barbed wire, with night vision cameras, lights, and loudspeakers installed at some sections. Finland says the border fence, which will replace the light wooden fencing that is generally used along the border currently (and which is basically used just to keep livestock from crossing the border), is needed in order to boost security as an increasing number of Russians are attempting to flee the country to avoid being conscripted to fight in Ukraine, the BBC reports. Construction began Tuesday, and the pilot phase—a section of the fence at the Imatra border crossing—is expected to be completed by June, CNN reports.

The fence will be placed near border crossings and other particularly risky portions of the border, and the areas identified as most important are scheduled to be constructed between now and 2025. Also Tuesday, Finland's parliament began its final debate on a bill to speed up its application to join NATO, and is expected to vote Wednesday, Euronews reports. It's expected to pass; a preliminary vote last May had almost unanimous support. (Finland says it will join NATO alone if it must.)

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