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Finland, which shares a border with Russia, plans to build 300 new shooting ranges as interest in national defense surge

Huileng Tan   

Finland, which shares a border with Russia, plans to build 300 new shooting ranges as interest in national defense surge
  • Finland plans to open new shooting ranges due to a surge in interest following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • The Nordic country joined NATO in April amid heightened security concerns.

Finland is planning to open up new shooting ranges to meet a surge in demand following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to Finnish public broadcaster Yle in a Tuesday report.

Finland — which shares an 830-mile-long border with Russia — joined NATO in April amid concerns over national security after Moscow invaded Ukraine nearly two years ago.

Finns have been becoming more interested in national defense since the Ukraine war started, with training days among national defense enthusiasts doubling since the war started, according to Yle. More Finns have also been applying for gun licenses, the broadcaster added.

Since existing shooting ranges also cater to other users like hunters and the police, more facilities are required due to heavy usage.

There are about 670 shooting ranges for civilians in Finland — down from over 2,000 before the year 2000. The Finnish government plans to boost the number to about 1,000 by 2030, per Yle.

People shouldn't have to travel far just to practice shooting, Jukka Kopra, a National Coalition party MP and the chair of Finland's defense committee, told Yle. It should be as easy to practice shooting as it is for football or ice hockey, he added.

Meanwhile, the Finnish defense ministry plans to "safeguard the activities of Finland's shooting ranges and promote the establishment of new shooting ranges," a spokesperson told the Guardian.

Finland's relationship with Russia has deteriorated significantly since the nordic country joined NATO.

Finland closed all its border crossings with Russia late last year amid a surge in asylum seekers in the dead of winter. Helsinki accused Moscow of deliberately sending migrants to the border to punish Finland for working with the US.

The Kremlin has denied Finland's accusations.




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