Poland bolstering its border with Belarus to deter illegal migration

Warsaw, Poland — Poland’s defense minister said Thursday his country is strengthening the metal barrier along its border with Belarus to deter illegal migration.

“We are mending the barrier on the Polish-Belarusian border, we are strengthening this barrier,” Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said on private Radio Zet. “The spending on these purposes is the highest in [Poland’s] history.”

Kosiniak-Kamysz said the increased presence of Polish and allied military forces in regions close to the border is also helping to tighten the eastern frontier of NATO and the European Union. That presence has been increased since Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in 2022.

He spoke in favor of Poland building a line of defensive bunkers, trenches and ditches along that border and the one with Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad, steps that the Baltic states have already taken.

Poland says a massive wave of illegal migration from Belarus, especially in 2022, was orchestrated by that country and by Russia to destabilize Poland, a Ukrainian ally, and the European Union. The influx was largely curbed by the metal barrier that Poland completed last year, but some illegal crossings continue.

The minister’s comments also suggested that the barrier is seen as a wider defense measure during Russia’s war with Ukraine, which borders Poland.

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