Finland has started building a fence along parts of its 1,340km (832-mile) border with Russia amid security tensions with its neighbour over the Ukraine war.
The Finnish Border Guard says the 200km of barrier fence will improve security and help stop disruption if Moscow decides to weaponise mass migration against Helsinki.
Work began on the project on Tuesday and comes as Finland’s lawmakers passed legislation on Wednesday giving approval for the country to join NATO.
The war in Ukraine prompted Finland and Sweden to abandon decades of neutrality and decide to join the military alliance.
“The changed security environment has made it necessary to construct a barrier fence along part of the eastern border,” the border guard previously said.
“Such a fence would strengthen our border control here and now.
“It would significantly support the management of disturbances at the border, and a physical barrier fence would in practice be necessary in situations involving instrumentalised or extensive entry into the country.”
While Finland shares a lengthy border with Russia, only 200km (124 miles) is expected to have fencing, mostly located in the southeast of the country.
It is not a sensible option to build a fence that extends along the entire length of the border, the border guard says.
Construction is expected to take three or four years.
In September, the Finnish government banned Russian tourists following thousands of arrivals after Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation order.
The government justified its decision by saying that continued arrivals of Russian tourists was endangering the country’s international relations. It said it had discussed the issue with Ukraine’s leadership, among others, ahead of the decision.
Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto cited security concerns related to Russia’s war in Ukraine, the “illegal” referendums arranged by Russia and recent leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines as events that led to the decision.