Finland ‘s main political parties have backed the construction of a fence along parts of the country’s border with Russia , and work on a small pilot section is expected to begin as soon as funds have been allocated, officials said. Finnish media.
Finnish media Tuesday night’s meeting between Prime Minister Sanna Marin and representatives of all major parties confirmed cross-party support for the plans, proposed last month by the Finnish border guard.
Helsinki is increasingly concerned about large-scale illegal crossings of the 830-mile (1,340 km) eastern border it shares with Russia, the longest of any EU member, as thousands of Russians flee Moscow’s partial mobilization. in response to his war in the Ukraine.
He is also concerned about the prospect of Moscow deploying orchestrated mass migration as a form of hybrid warfare, like Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania.
“We agreed on the need,” Marin said after the meeting. “Now the government will bring concrete proposals to parliament.” Funding for the pilot section will be voted on early next month, he said.
“This is about ensuring proper policing of the Finnish border,” Marin said. “We want to make sure that our border guard has enough support to carry out proper and effective border control, and we must be prepared for any disruptive situation.”
Last month, the Finnish border guard suggested building a multi-meter-high fence, reinforced with barbed wire and equipped with surveillance cameras and sensors, along 160 miles of the border, about 20% of the total.
The fence would protect areas identified as potentially at risk of large-scale migration from Russia, mainly in southeastern Finland, where most traffic crosses the border, but also around border stations in the country’s north.
The project would take up to four years to complete and could cost several hundred million euros, according to border guard estimates. Final approval for the main phase could be delayed until April, when Finland holds parliamentary elections.
Russians in Norway?
Norway, which also shares a border with Russia in the far north, said on Wednesday it had arrested a seventh Russian citizen suspected of illegally flying drones or taking photos in restricted areas in recent days. The suspect was identified as Andrei Yakunin, the son of former Russian railways chief Vladimir Yakunin, who is believed to be close to Putin. Police said he had been flying a drone in the strategically sensitive region of Svalbard.
Separately, earlier this week, Norway said it had arrested four other Russian citizens who were seen taking illegal photos of the facility last week.
Police did not identify the four, who were carrying photographic and other imaging equipment, but said they had come to Norway from Finland and claimed to be tourists.
Two other Russians were also arrested in Norway last week, both with drones. One had taken photos of military helicopters and airports, while the other, who had two Russian passports, had a partially encrypted 4-terabyte set of photos and videos.
With information from AFP and REUTERS.