Just weeks after applying to join NATO, Finland started the process Thursday of securing its 830-mile border with Russia.
As Russia's invasion of Ukraine has concerned Russia's neighbors, Finnish lawmakers amended legislation to allow for the construction of barriers along the country's eastern border. The new legislation will allow fencing and new roads in order to more easily patrol the border.
Finland's minister of internal affairs Krista Mikkonen said in a statement that "[L]ater on, the government will decide on border barriers to the critical zones on the eastern border, on the basis of the Finnish Border Guard's assessment."
Finland is concerned as well that Russia may flood the country with asylum seekers in order to apply political pressure. The legislation would concentrate asylum seekers to a smaller number of entry points than the current European Union rules dictate. The EU rules allow for migrants to apply for asylum at any given point of entry to a member state.
After long histories of neutrality, both Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership last month. Russia has responded negatively to Finland's NATO application, since it would expand Russia's border with NATO by hundreds of miles.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated last month that "Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop threats to its national security arising."
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