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Finland Strengthens Its Border With Reservists In Response to Russian Security Concerns

Finland proposes a change to its conscription rules, allowing them to mobilize thousands of military reservists with border patrol experience. This aims to strengthen border security in the event of a sudden influx of migrants arriving from Russia.

Finland has accused Russia of weaponizing migration, a charge Russia denies. Last year, Finns closed its 1,340-kilometer border with Russia due to a significant rise in asylum seekers from other countries who entered through Russia. This action reduced the number of arrivals substantially.

Concerned that Russia might re-employ this tactic, the Finnish government is taking steps to prepare through this new legislation.

Finland’s Defense Minister, Antti Hakkanen, explained in a statement that due to the evolving security landscape, they need to strengthen existing border security measures with new approaches. “With the changed security situation, we need to complement existing methods with new ways to maintain border security”.

Finland’s mandatory military service system, known as conscription, has trained over 10,000 individuals for the Border Guard. The government highlighted that a quarter of these personnel are currently active border guards.

However, the remaining 7,500 or so servicemen have transitioned to civilian careers. Current legislation allows them to be recalled for emergencies involving military threats to border security, but not for migration control.

The proposal to expand call-up capabilities for these reservists during migration surges will be voted on by parliament, where the right-wing government holds a majority.

This initiative coincides with the government’s drafting of a “pushback law,” which would empower border guards to turn away asylum seekers at the Finnish-Russian border without processing their asylum applications.

Finland became a member of NATO on 4 April 2023 after Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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