Inside Finland's underground bunker network as fears grow they're next on Russia's list

As fears grow in Finland that Russia will look to invade their country next, their civil defence is reassuring the country it is well-prepared. 

Finland boasts an extensive underground bunker network that can protect from nuclear attacks - but it can't protect from the most immediate risk, the economic impact that's already hitting the country thanks to the war in Ukraine.

Head well below the surface and you'll find Helsinki's hidden city. 

The Finns have seen the signs, they've lived through the threats before and they've made a plan. 

Because when war is a constant worry, preparation is the only way to go. 

Beds are in stacks to the side, ready to be assembled in haste. The toilet cubicles are mapped out and the plumbing is ready to be turned on.

At Hotel Bunker they have everything they need to protect the population in times of war. 

"Everything is ready to go. We have drinking water, additional power systems, ventilation, filtering," Helsinki City rescue department spokesperson Anna Lehtiranta said.

Thirty metres underground, the shelter is blast-proof, gas-proof and can survive a nuclear attack.

Built into the 2 million-year-old bedrock of the city, it masquerades as a happy place to spend your time. There's a playground, gym, cafeteria, carpark, offices and sports courts.  

"It's all ready and waiting for something we do not expect to happen," Lehtiranta said.

At least, they hope it doesn't. 

It would take just 72 hours to transform a sports and leisure centre into a fully-operational bomb shelter. It would house 6000 people and there are 60 of these around the city. 

Helsinki has a population of 600,000 - but can house 900,000 people underground. 

Their preparedness dates back to the lessons of 1939, when Russia did invade.

Finland is painfully aware of the risk posed by their 1340km shared border and with war raging again, relations with Russia are entering a deep freeze. Millions of cars pass through their border crossing every year, but that's in normal times. These days, the highway to and from St Petersburg is all but completely deserted. 

At the railway station, it's even worse. The usual 10 daily trains have been suspended. 

"No trains anymore, no passengers, it's very quiet," Margherita Laihia said.

Laihia was born in Russia, but after 25 years of running a rail-side diner, she's looking to sell up.

"I am worried, everyone is worried about the war. We are so close, but I am not afraid," she said.

She knows on both sides there is concern for what comes next.

"I still have relatives there, I miss them so much," Laihia said. 

The war is hurting Europe far beyond the borders of Ukraine.