Finland’s Border Guard is now protecting the first section of the border with Russia where a fence has been erected, reported Finnish radio Yle on Thursday. The pilot 3-kilometer-long section of the metal barrier, which is 3 meters high and topped with barbed wire, is located in the town of Imatra near the busiest border crossing.
Construction of the fence on the eastern border began in the spring. Initially, it was assumed that the first test section of the barrier would be ready by the end of June. The delay was caused by difficulties at the construction stage, as well as time-consuming installations of the monitoring system.
Several hundred meters of the test section are also located in the area of the local military barracks, where surveillance techniques are being tested.
“The experience from the pilot will be used in the next stages of work,” said project leader Ismo Kurki from the Border Guard unit for southeastern Finland.
Ultimately, about 70 kilometers of the border in this region is slated for fencing in the area.
At the same time, the Lapland branch of the Border Guard reported that tree cutting began in early September and the first work on building a fence in the northern part of the country in the region of the town of Salla has commenced.
In Lapland, the more challenging soil and water conditions, with swamps and impassable forests, already hinder illegal migration, so the fence will only be erected along the main road; a pontoon bridge will need to be built to secure the border.
Finnish authorities intend to secure approximately 200 kilometers of the border with Russia, which is about 15 percent of the entire eastern border, over 1,300 kilometers long.
The project is expected to be completed by 2026.