HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s prime minister said Tuesday she is confident there is “broad support” in parliament to build a fence on the Nordic country’s border with Russia, as proposed by the Finnish border guard officials.
“It’s about ensuring proper monitoring of Finland’s (eastern) border in the future,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters at the legislature ahead of a meeting with parliamentary groups on the issue of the border barrier.
Finnish border guards had previously suggested covering parts of the 1,340 kilometer (830 mile) border that Finland shares with Russia, the longest of any member of the European Union, to help prevent a possible large-scale and illegal migration – a concern that grew in Helsinki amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Based on a risk analysis carried out by border authorities, the fence would be up to 260 kilometers (162 miles) long in total and cover areas that have been identified as potential risks for large-scale migration from Russia.
The main parts of the fence would be erected in southeastern Finland, where most border traffic to and from Russia takes place, but some sections are also expected to be built around border crossings in the north.
Building the fence would take up to four years and is expected to cost several hundred million euros (dollars) in total, according to Finnish news agency STT. Finnish media reported that the project was supported by parties in Marin’s centre-left coalition government and the opposition.
A pilot section of the fence with a length of about three kilometers (two miles) will soon be decided and built quickly, but the decision of the whole project of the fence could be postponed to the next government because Finland holds general elections in April 2023.
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