: Norway will build a fence at its Arctic border with Russia - New York Times

11:25 Aug. 25, 2016

Norway will build a fence at its Arctic border with Russia - New York Times

Syrian refugees who arrived in Norway via Russia wait for decision by immigration authorities (Getty Images)

The fence will be built in the coming weeks, before winter frosts set in, to make it harder to slip into Norway via a forest.

Norway is putting up a steel fence at a remote Arctic border post with Russia after an influx of migrants last year, sparking an outcry from refugees' rights groups and fears that cross-border ties with the former Cold War adversary will be harmed.

Read also Norway plans to protect itself from "unpredictable" Russia

The government says a new gate and a fence, about 660 feet long and 11 feet high and stretching from the Storskog border point, is needed to tighten security at a northern outpost of Europe's passport-free Schengen zone.

For decades, the Nordic countries have been seen as reliable havens for asylum seekers.

But the erection of the fence, at a spot where 5,500 migrants mainly from Syria crossed into Norway last year, reflects a wider shift in public attitudes against refugees.

Read also Worried over refugees, Baltics begin to erect border fences

Sweden, Norway's neighbor, is setting up border controls this year and has toughened asylum rules.

Refugee groups and some opposition politicians say Norway's fence will deter people fleeing persecution and is an unwelcome echo of the Cold War in a region where relations have generally flourished since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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