Just weeks after applying to join NATO, Finland on Thursday began the process of securing its 830-mile border with Russia.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine worries Russia’s neighbors, Finnish lawmakers have changed legislation to allow the construction of barriers along the country’s eastern border. The new legislation will allow fences and new roads to more easily patrol the border.
Krista Mikkonen, Finnish Interior Minister said in a statement that “[L]Later, the government will decide on the border barriers to the critical areas on the eastern border, based on the assessment of the Finnish border guards.”
Finland also fears that Russia will flood the country with asylum seekers in order to exert political pressure. The legislation would concentrate asylum seekers at fewer entry points than current EU rules dictate. EU rules allow migrants to apply for asylum at any point of entry into a member state.
After long histories of neutrality, Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership last month. Russia has responded negatively to Finland’s NATO application, as it would expand Russia’s border with NATO by hundreds of kilometres.
The Russian Foreign Ministry declared last month that “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory measures, both military-technical and otherwise, in order to prevent threats to its national security from arising.”
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